Positive vibes: Four brands beating the Covid-19 blues

covid_2Further evidence has emerged that consumers do not want brands to ditch their advertising activity during the coronavirus pandemic, with an analysis of four Covid-19 campaigns from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, ITV and Jack Daniel’s showing brands the way forward.

In a further swipe at those who are urging firms to pull the plug, research from video adtech company Unruly shows over two-fifths (42%) of UK consumers want ads to make them feel more informed, yet only 5% of Brits want brands to pause their advertising altogether.

With UK consumers’ daily routines dramatically different – and millions self-isolating – their views on how brands should advertise to them have also changed.

The survey reveals that a quarter (23%) of UK consumers want ads to provide a sense of continuity and normality, while another 13% want ads to be funny/positive in an effort to distract them from what is going on. A further third (35%) would prefer advertising to make them feel more warm and happy.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, online activity has rocketed in the UK, with consumers spending a lot more time than before on their mobile phones (47%), connected TVs (35%) and laptops (29%).

Away from their digital devices, half of Brits (50%) are spending more time cooking, while there has also been a significant increase in the amount of time people are spending improving their homes (45%) and reading books (35%). A separate study revealed the pandemic is turning Britain into a nation of home bakers, creators, DIYers, musos and TV bingers.

For the Sainsbury’s, Tesco, ITV and Jack Daniels campaigns, Unruly gauged UK consumer reaction and run this through its emotional testing and targeting tool, UnrulyEQ. This compared the activity to Unruly’s database of thousands of ads to discover not only the emotions people felt but the impact they had on various brand and business metrics.

Sainsbury’s “Help Stop The Spread” ad offers tips on how shoppers at the supermarket chain can help keep themselves, fellow shoppers and their staff safe during the spread of the virus.

Some 35% of viewers came away from the ad feeling very informed – more than four times higher than the UK norm (8%). The video was also effective at helping drive consumers to shop at Sainsbury’s, with purchase intent (41%), brand favourability (39%), brand recall (72%), people’s willingness to find out more (43%) and the percentage of brand promoters (29%) all above the UK norm.

Meanwhile, Tesco’s “Some Little Helps For Safer Shopping” performed even better. Purchase intent (48%), brand recall (79%), find out more (45%), brand favourability (48%) and brand promoters (35%) were all higher than Sainsbury’s video.

The ad’s content inspired almost half of its viewers (47%) to want to share it with their social networks, slightly more than Sainsbury’s (43%).

ITV’s latest spot features a host of celebrities associated with the TV channel communicating a unified message of hope and togetherness during this difficult time through home-recorded videos.

Some 20% of respondents felt feelings of warmth while watching the ad compared to the UK norm, with the three other top emotions of happiness (16%), pride (16%) and inspiration (12%) also all scoring way above the UK norm.

The study says this is likely to be because viewers relate to the celebrities on screen who are going through the same experience as them while they self isolate and practise social distancing, combined with the video’s message of love, unity and positivity.

Looking at key business metrics, this ad overperformed across every metric, scoring a 49% for find out more against a UK norm of 31%, an impressive 51% for shareability versus a 26% UK norm and 42% for purchase intent compared to a 31% UK norm.

Finally, Jack Daniels’ “With Love, Jack” goes with a similar format to ITV, showing a string of videos of people isolating themselves in their homes.

The difference is that this ad shines a light on “normal” people and how they are finding innovative ways to communicate without physically being together. This includes a virtual chess game, a window game of noughts and crosses, singing together over webcam and, of course, enjoying a few glasses of Jack Daniels together.

Again, the ad evokes a number of positive emotions, scoring 19% for warmth versus a UK norm of 6%, 15% for happiness versus a UK norm of 8%, and 9% for inspiration versus a 5% UK norm.

Jack Daniels also performs above the norm for all key business metrics, scoring 48% for shareability versus a 26% UK norm, 43% for find out more versus a 31% UK norm and 42% for purchase intent versus a 31% UK norm.

Unruly global vice-president of insights and solutions Rebecca Waring said: “The introduction of a social lockdown by the UK Government has resulted in rapid, unprecedented changes in consumer behaviours and their preferences.

“The vast majority of consumers still want to see ads, but the key to success is in the content and the way a message is conveyed. The magnitude of these changes require brands to be nimble in adapting their ad strategies to maintain and grow connections with consumers, provide support and minimise disruption to performance.”

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