The role of advertising during the COVID-19 crisis

Families with children with their home ovens at full capacity preparing cakes and homemade bread. People practicing yoga when they wake up in the morning. And many others rearranging closets or giving a new look to the rooms of the house … Each of us have done what we have been able to try to cope with a situation, clearly unknown and unprecedented in this century. Of course, before we have needed to go through a series  of stages to assimilate what we experienced, something that has taken us a while and that, even today, unconfined for months, we are assuming before the disconcerting scenario that has remained after the storm.

According to Dr. Kübler-Ross, one of the world’s leading experts on the subject of grief, this human behavior is part of the first stages we go through in accepting an unexpected event in our lives. Thus, during the Reaffirmation phase, we try to react to emotional shock by maintaining our daily routines as if nothing had happened.

What happens in the second stage is different, the one that corresponds to the Crisis, and which is generally the longest of the process, with comings and goings in each of the emotional phases that follow, such as anxiety, sadness and, in some cases, depression. Already in a third stage the light begins to be seen in the Reconstruction phase, when it seems that our day to day is returning to a more “normalized” situation and we begin to accept what we have experienced.

In the midst of this scenario, advertising, as a good social thermometer that it is, has played a fundamental Italy Phone Number List role as that friendly voice or balm that reminded us that we are not alone and that, after all, we were all joining forces.
While little by little the long-awaited normalcy arrives in our lives, we review how advertising has responded by trying to smooth out these turbulent months and add value.

That it is increasingly important to take care of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a creator of brand value is a trend that we have been seeing for a long time and that, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, has accelerated.

Faced with a consumer like the current one, more demanding and informed, brands must know how to respond to their needs, live up to a profile that expects more from the products and services they consume. Ultimately, consumers are asking for responsible brands and real communication. As Gonzalo Saiz, Bankinter Marketing Director explained during the openclass “Advertising in adverse times: the Bankinter case”, “the brand is what it promises and that promise must live up to expectations”. To do this, “Look at the consumer from the front. It is exciting, but be rational ”.

Precisely in the balance of combining the emotional and the rational part lies the key to success. And it is that, as is logical, in the times that we live, the emotional had to be present, more than ever, but without neglecting the rational aspect, offering specific proposals to solve the problems that people face. And this is how Bankinter managed to create a famous campaign and, above all, not forget to look at the consumer in the face. The result is a beautiful spot, a case in which art, message and soundtrack (created expressly for the ad) go hand in hand so that the result is a masterpiece of advertising.

[ANNOUNCEMENT 2020] Bankinter. The bank that sees money as you see it.
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Others who did not forget the importance of empathy were Campofrío who, touching the sentimental and humorous side, launched “a message to the enemy” from the hand of the great Gila reminding us that together we can win this war. For its part, the Swedish brand Ikea was there giving voice to the home, thanking us for the time we had to stay there and reminding us that he will always be there for us, putting up with whatever comes.

Also BMW joined the team knew the brands that combine these two elements correctly. The German car firm turned to the reason that made us stay in our houses for three months: the curve. To do this, they made reference to the fact that a curve for them means fun and a driving feeling free, but that, nevertheless, in recent months the curve that we faced demanded a new challenge: to flatten it. Simply brilliant. Direct, clear and identifying message.

And brilliant was also Coca-Cola’s outdoor advertising in Times Square with a message that, presenting the letters of the brand’s name further apart than usual, read the following: “Staying apart is the best way to stay united” (“ Being apart is the best way to be together ”). And the thing was not there, because the brand also issued a statement in which it announced the donation of 150 million dollars for protective equipment for workers in the health sector. An example of so many other brands that stepped up and made large donations when it was most needed …

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Advertising in times of covid
Outdoor advertising in Times Square.

We can say that, in general terms, brands have avoided launching messages that could label them opportunistic, thus damaging their reputation. As we said, we have tried to speak from the heart … But with balance.

Out with paternalisms. At the beginning, at the dawn of confinement, we all need that pat to raise morale in a country (and half the world) sunk in uncertainty and fear, and to remind us that, in good times, in bad times and in bad times. worse, the consumer was not alone.

All human beings need to grow, survive, go to more, affection and recognition. However, when an unexpected and unprecedented crisis like the one we have witnessed comes, everything explodes into the air. We are then kept in a spiral in which physiological and safety / stability needs move through our lives in a constant loop.

We are going to remember the famous Abraham Maslow Pyramid to establish the client’s needs: physiological, and therefore, related to hunger, thirst, sleep. Second, security needs, which pursue the feeling of feeling protected, the needs of belonging and affection, second to last, the needs for esteem, where recognition and status enter, and lastly, the needs for self-realization.

However, it would be wrong to think that one type of behavior corresponds to only one level of need. In fact, for example, the desire for self-realization can manifest itself in very different ways depending on the nature of individuals and their socio-cultural environment. For example there will be those who have felt good playing a musical instrument, for example, while other people have opted for meditation, DIY or gardening.

Throughout the quarantine we have been passing through different stages and, therefore, moving between one and the other steps of the pyramid. People, having covered our basic needs, need to dignify our lives and, in a state of forced isolation, our freedom of movement has been altered, which has made us look for incentivesto make us forget this deprivation. In a certain way, infinitely bridging distances and keeping the utmost respect, the comparison seems to me similar to the prisoner of a concentration camp who, every morning, although he knows he is locked in the same place day after day, strives to do so. personal hygiene and needs to walk and ignore the horrors around him for a matter of survival and human dignity. In this case, the horror of uncertainty and of knowing that the lives of many similar ones were out there was escaping or hanging by a thread.

And now that? You may wonder. How will advertising evolve? Campaigns such as those of Bankinter have served in this stage of uncertainty to be present, provide solutions to people’s problems and communicate correctly. Logically, after the most critical moment, there will now be an evolution to a more commercial message, but the DE Phone Number way to communicate it will not be like before the pandemic. Nothing will ever be exactly the same again. Time will pass and we will recompose ourselves and, although we never forget the messages of the brands that have contributed real messages, the wheel will continue to turn.

In general, brands have shied away from launching messages that labeled them opportunistic, speaking from the heart and looking at the consumer head-on.In short, the speed of response, agile thinking and putting yourself in the shoes of the other has been and will always be key. This time it was not necessary to deploy great means in market research, because we were all living it in our own flesh.A new opportunity opens up for brands to create new habits that favor them. Let’s not waste the opportunity to be that brand committed to honesty, social responsibility and a proactive mind to be agents of transformation of this changing place called the world.

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