On February 27, 2020 at 10:16 PM CST, well known prophet and medium, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, took to Twitter to issue her most prophetic statement to date:
earth is cancelled
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) February 28, 2020
Three words: Earth. Is. Cancelled.
And yet, here we are, a mere 28 days later: Citizens confined to their homes, businesses boarding up their windows, major meetings and events being postponed, and many feeling personally attacked by their weekly screen time reports.
Despite the static and chaos, marketers are still searching for ways to have their brands or organizations remain relevant and convey their messages clearly. From those taking a business as usual approach to the ones rising to the occasion — we’re going to take a look at four marketing tactics we’ve seen crop up through the quarantine.
1. Do This Right
How marketers behave in the middle of a crisis is often indicative of the strength of the brand they represent. Many of the world’s most respectable, illustrious brands have taken this situation as a moment to regroup and refine their marketing efforts into something both informative and helpful towards our current situation. Which leads into one of the best examples we’ve seen recently of an iconic brand rising to the occasion and delivering an incredible, inspiring marketing campaign: Pornhub.
Yes, PornHub. Say what you want. Lie about your browser history if you must. But the platform initially gained some respect in the marketing community in April of 2014 when promising to plant a tree for every 100 videos viewed in honor of Arbor Day. And they’re back at it again by pledging to donate 50,000 surgical masks to New York City healthcare workers, $25,000 to the Sex Workers Outreach Project (yes,that’s a real thing) to aid those in the sex work industry affected by the virus, and give everybody free access to PornHub Premium for the next 30 days.
Many other brands like Miller Lite and Fireball are doing their part as well by helping to raise money for the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. Showing us that when the going gets tough, the booze and porn industries get tougher.
2. Nothing To See Here
After months of research, planning, and preparation — nothing is going to stop these teams from executing their (theoretically) perfectly thought out campaigns. Going against the more obvious approach of showing how current and relevant their brand or organization can be, they go through with their campaigns as if it were business as usual.
A prime example of this strategy can be seen in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA made waves by making changes to the ever present Nutrition Facts label for the first time in 20 years.
Rolling out the announcement with a foodie fashion show, the FDA has chosen to remind us all that there was a world pre-social distancing and there will be a world post-social distancing.
And that the serving size for a Pop-Tart is only one tart, so even though there are two in the package, they expect you to just eat one. Rude…and IMPOSSIBLE!
As the number of days in isolation grows, the number of days left with toilet paper is unraveling. Thus, it has been interesting to see how many household brands have been interacting with their customers as the situation further unrolls.
On social media, specifically, many household brands such as Clorox, Charmin, Bounty and others have made statements addressing the growing unrest over the availability of their products and have had customer response teams working tirelessly to clean up the situation.
While in a perfect world many of these brands would have had a time to get ahead of the problem and create a more proactive strategy, that sadly can’t be the case when people go full-on doomsday prepper and buy up all of the hand sanitizer in the state with the intention of making a profit because they had never heard of fracking.
To all of the social media customer care teams currently being roasted by Russian Twitter bots, we salute you.
4. Coupon Kween
“YOU get free delivery and YOU get free delivery and YOU get free delivery!” This has been the approach of popular food courier service Postmates, which has been handing out $100 in free delivery to anyone who so much as breathes in their direction (Wait, am I still allowed to say that?).
Recognizing that the basic human need for food still exists in a pandemic, Postmates has cornered the market on incentivizing their service to those staying indoors (WHICH BETTER BE EVERYONE.) Delivering the message through e-blasts, app notifications, direct-mail postage, and a soft whisper into your ear while you sleep, Postmates is making sure that every time you get hungry during your isolation you think of them.
While today’s marketing situation may feel like you’re in a bit of a ‘Bad Romance,’ just keep in mind that there are a ‘Million Reasons’ to keep trying your hardest. So ,it’s time to drop your ‘Poker Face’ and get to work because, who knows, your next marketing campaign could be on ‘The Edge of Glory.’ And remember—buy ARTPOP on iTunes.