With all that’s going on in the world right now, it seems difficult to look past coronavirus when planning campaigns.
But that doesn’t mean we’re at a loss for choice. In fact, suddenly the bar has risen to new heights. Take Sainsbury’s or Morrisons; introducing early hours for vulnerable shoppers would be game-changing social justice campaigns in any other year – but now it's just one act of many great ones. Not only that, it doesn’t seem like a cynical stunt. It’s simply the right thing to do.
I’ve therefore picked out a few choice campaigns from the past week that either do some good, or help brands adapt to the new world order.
(One thing I haven’t included this week is a ‘Misses’ section. There will no doubt be agencies and in-house teams struggling in these testing times – and the world needs a bit of kindness.)
Washington University, 'folding@home'
Fighting fire with… flops.
One giant exaflop, to be precise. Allow me to explain.
It didn’t strictly start this week – the folding@home project has been running for some time – but after support from the likes of NVIDIA and AMD across its social channels, one million devices are donating their ‘spare’ PC processing power as part of a coronavirus-fuelled drive – which has helped create the most powerful supercomputer ever assembled at one exaflop of power.
To put this into perspective, it’s roughly the same processing power as 543,000 PS4s all glued together – working together to complete billions of random calculations, which will help discover more about the intricacies of the virus.
A fantastic example of the power of computers, and finally vindication for all those PC gamers who bought way more powerful computers than they needed!
A few years ago we launched our One in a Million campaign in the hopes of someday reaching one million users. As of today, we have 1,029,546 devices running F@h! If you’ve joined us, retweet this with #OneInAMillion pic.twitter.com/Q13ZCb96Yh— Folding@home (@foldingathome) April 1, 2020
Stay at Home by Guinness (sort of)
Good things come to those who wait. And apparently, if you wait long enough, someone will do your PR for free.
An amazing Guinness ‘ad’ doing the rounds this week, which set marketing types and social media all aglow, asked its followers to ‘Stay at Home’, perfectly replicating the iconic image of a pint of Guinness using only a logo and a tan-coloured sofa.
The twist to this tale is that it wasn’t even Guinness that created the advert, but a freelance copywriter named Luke O’Reilly, taking part in a One Minute Brief Twitter challenge. Guinness then picked it up, sharing it and crediting Luke for his sharp work.
Free Rides and Meals for NHS Staff by Uber
There have been hundreds of these sorts of gestures, and at a time when the nation needs them most, it’s hard to single one out.
Yet while some brands are offering discounts to NHS staff, or putting a few of their items on sale, Uber Eats announced its campaign to allow all NHS Staff free Uber trips as well as free Uber Eats deliveries – a huge and generous offering to staff on the frontline.
Uber has had a lot of negative press in recent years – and often rightly so – but this charitable act stuck with me the most of any this week.
To help keep our NHS on the move, we’re committing free rides to and from work, and free meals through Uber Eats for NHS staff after a busy shift. Tag someone you know who works for the NHS. https://t.co/U0F94xlh2J pic.twitter.com/m0y9Rd1ozh— Uber UK (@UberUK) March 30, 2020
Top Gun, Zoom Backgrounds
Smart marketers behind the new Top Gun movie have created a series of Zoom backgrounds you can use in your daily video calls.
Certainly not the only brand to have done this, but the first I saw. And while nowhere near as altruistic as many others on this list, it’s a lovely example of creativity adapting to trends. With everyone and their dog (or cat) logging onto Zoom this month, it’s an innovative new way to market themselves.
Zoom up to new altitudes by downloading these #TopGun: Maverick Virtual Backgrounds for your @zoom_us meetings, hangouts and happy hours here: https://t.co/fQ7ONELci6.— Top Gun (@TopGunMovie) March 27, 2020
Share your screenshots with us by tagging @TopGunMovie! pic.twitter.com/TaUBfa4TuS
BrewDog Online Bar
Staying relevant when all of your bars are forced to close is difficult, but BrewDog has managed to adapt as best it can at remarkable speed, setting up the BrewDog Online Bar.
It’s essentially a daily Zoom party, where guests can come along for a drink (in their own homes) and take in musical content, talks, yoga classes and, of course, a pub quiz.
A very simple execution, but an example of true creativity – adapting to new situations rather than a simple cookie-cutter approach.
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