2020 Marketing (so far)
This year has been interesting to say the least. With COVID in full force globally, brands have had to make a change in their marketing efforts. Sharing some honest thoughts on ads in 2020 pre-US shutdown (remember Superbowl?) and post as brands quickly adjusted messaging given the virus.
I May Have Cried
Since starting to work at Disney 2 years ago the brand has definitely become a big part of my life outside even of work. There’s something special about the stories the company & its sub-brands tell that makes me proud and (more importantly) keeps me entertained.
With the release of Disney+, every ad has caught my attention or moved me in some way. During the Oscars (hosted on Disney-owned ABC, perfect synergy) the platform ran a new ad that caused teary eyes - at least for myself. And a few weeks following the ad I had an urge to watch Up after 10 years. The ad did exactly what it intended & I absolutely love it.
It’s only April and even the Superbowl feels forever away. The first ad that came to mind was “smaht pahk.” Although I knew it was for a car brand, I didn’t remember until I looked it up - It’s Hundai. Ultimately, could have been better with the brand connection, but still comes out as a favorite & the casting was great.
And for my least favorite, I tried to refresh my memory of all ads, but stopped at Jason Momoa for Rocket Mortgage. There may be worse ones out there, but this was not pleasant to watch. I’m linking it for reference, warning on the cringe factor if you haven't seen it. The message was clear between being yourself at home & Rocket Mortgage, but could have skipped out on the removal of arms and hair, maybe left it at tall shoes & fake abs. Also, this could help with the length as 1 min 20 seconds felt way too long.
I will start by saying it’s amazing how quick brands pivoted messaging around COVID. Digital definitely helps with the ability to adapt messaging, but it's especially impressive knowing the approval process for any marketing at a big corporation. It does get confusing when brands share the same “We’re in this together” message, although better than a tone def ad. While my live TV consumption is limited, I’ll always tune in to the latest SNL which fills its ad time. I could tell you that some of these ads were for Facebook and Samsung, so at least those brands stuck, but I know there are many more out there that I won’t remember. I’m glad these tech companies that are probably growing through this all continue to spend on marketing to keep the industry going.
I was impressed by Samsung’s ability to connect the messaging with its products, showing real people being connected through this difficult time.
Facebook’s ad was deeply impactful and the poem “people’s faces” by Kate Tempest is beautiful art. However, considering my own biases on the social platform, the ad felt disconnected from the company. Of course the brand is working on improving its image and being more “for the people” versus a tech giant, but it didn’t work for me, although it’s a great ad. I will overshare that a large part of my bias comes from watching The Great Hack and not agreeing with the political ads run on Facebook. Also, wanted to share this article from Fast Company that articulates a similar perspective.
I think it’s also okay to continue with some normally scheduled brand moments - like Ben & Jerry’s with 4/20. They continue to make noise & stay true to their voice. This year they launched a “Let’s be blunt about cannabis justice” campaign partnering with ACLU with a page on their website & posts across social. I received a targeted ad through Twitter & was glad they got it right. It stood out from the rest of the “holiday” posts. And most importantly promoted an important topic that's sometimes overlooked at this time - the arrests and continued incarceration of black Americans for cannabis possession as more states are legalizing possession & overall white Americans are profiting from the industry.
So there you have it - some of the best and worst, all very much my opinions & not a reflection on the brands. This was longer than expected but a good start for my first post in 2 years.