The changes in voice, tone and message that have occurred across creative marketing campaigns since the Coronavirus began to affect the UK have been dramatic…and instant, with an influx of companies responding to the crisis’ impact in more ‘humanistic’ ways.

As the second phase of lockdown continues and further – as yet unknown – social distancing recommendations begin to be predicted for weeks to come, this new campaigning approach will doubtlessly continue. However, it might also affect the way creatives, advertisers and marketers approach message delivery once the current Covid crisis begins to abate.

At McConnells, we’ve seen multiple impressive examples from those in our industry who have been pulling out all the stops in terms of original campaign thinking; without appearing insensitive, or underestimating the severity of the Covid-19 situation for many individuals nationwide.

Whilst happily, a majority of lockdown-ees are in the position where, albeit frustratingly, they can take time to build on a social media presence or tackle a gardening project, others are in a life-threatening, hospitalised situation, or are at risk of losing the roof over their heads.

With multiple audiences to communicate with, and an imperative need to avoid causing serious offence, it’s been key for successful creatives to devise messages that demonstrate a common consumer ground with an appropriate level of compassion.

Broadband and media providers have made efforts to show their support not just to customers in lockdown of all ages, but also to NHS key workers; supermarkets have communicated the steps they’re taking to keep staff and customers safe at all times; and takeaway delivery providers have edited existing ads to reflect responsible social distancing.

By offering campaigns that centre on helping during the cause, many companies have built upon their corporate social responsibilities and developed ‘better brands’ in more ways that one.  Undoubtedly, these companies will begin to tentatively stretch out with bolder messages in coming weeks, as commerce becomes slightly more recognisable, however in light of what has happened this year, what lessons will companies have learned and what will the brands that have made positive CSR moves, bring with them? Will they simply revert to ‘business as usual’ or will a customer-led demand for ‘post Covid consumer change’ become evident?

The situation, which as a society, we have little control over, will dictate for a large part, the direction ad campaigns will take moving forward. Social distancing for example, will be part of life for sometime yet, which in itself will alter future buying habits, requirement priorities and customer opinions; so as marketers once again, dare to be more daring, what will their message compromises be?

Perhaps we can expect messages to be reflective of a society that thinks of others more; one that looks up to a different, more hands-on kind of hero, or increasingly seeks the reward of self-improvement as opposed to instant gratification…it’s possible.

And should this become the case, it will be interesting to see how an evolved generation of marketers and creatives flex their design concept capabilities and deliver on ideas, that can appropriately communicate brands to a changing audience, whilst continuing to create a stir. As an agency, we’ll be watching with interest, as we ourselves adapt to the societal and professional changes that are likely to unfold.

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