If I hear the word ‘unprecedented’ one more time I am going to scream, but the coronavirus pandemic truly has been uncharted territory for businesses across all sectors. With most of the world in lockdown, brands have had only one way of communicating with their audiences – online.
While some have managed to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and use social media and digital platforms to their advantage, others have really missed the mark. Here are some of the creative ways brands have used social media and digital platforms since the coronavirus pandemic began (and some of the clangers).
- The show must go on
Lingerie brand Bluebella didn’t let event restrictions get in the way of their Spring/ Summer 2020 show, hosting the world’s biggest online lingerie show with 200 models showcasing the collection from the safety and comfort of their own homes.
More than 1,000 women applied to take part, and participants included disabled Australian model Cherie Barry, LGBTQ, plus size and older models, as well as students, a vet and top executives.
The footage was edited down to a two-minute catwalk show on a Zoom video in a multi-screen format, which has garnered thousands of views and comments on YouTube as well as widespread media coverage.
- Run 5, Donate 5, Nominate 5
The ‘Run 5, Donate 5, Nominate 5’ challenge began in Edinburgh and rapidly went viral. Those nominated are encouraged to do a 5K run or walk, donate £5 to the NHS, then nominate five other people on social media to do the same. The campaign has raised more than £5 million (and counting), with a number of famous faces taking part including Ellie Goulding – and is already the most successful online charity campaign since the Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014.
- Get cultured from the couch
Google Arts & Culture teamed up with over 2,500 museums and galleries from around the world to bring anyone and everyone virtual tours and online exhibits. Google Arts & Culture’s collection includes the British Museum in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Guggenheim in New York City.
- Party in the living room
With proms cancelled, fast-food chain Jack in the Box hosted a virtual event called “Prom in the Box” for American high school seniors. Diplo and Dillon Francis (A-list DJs and dance music producers) played an hour of house and Latin club music on Instagram Live in front of a psychedelic virtual background.
- Not lovin’ it
McDonald’s Brazil separated its iconic golden arches to encourage social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak, paired with the tagline “separated for a moment so that we can always be together.” The brand was slammed for changing its logo once again instead of taking any concrete action (for the last two years, McDonald’s has flipped its M into a W to honour International Women’s Day, which many considered hypocritical when they don’t pay their employees a living wage).
- Fashion fail
U.S. fast-fashion retailer Fashion Nova received backlash on social media after sending out a tone-deaf text, suggesting that customers use their government stimulus checks to shop the site’s sale.
Several Twitter users posted screenshots of the alert, criticising the company for attempting to capitalise on the pandemic and get in on shoppers’ stimulus checks, which they were using for basic necessities like food and gas.
Influencers, no longer able to attend glamorous events or travel for the perfect Instagram photo, have been hit hard by the pandemic. While some have adapted their content, posting home workout videos and mirror selfies in tie dye sweatsuits, others have come under fire for bad pandemic behaviour.
Several influencers have faced severe backlash for participating in a bizarre trend where they use face masks as bikinis, calling them ‘quarankinis’, while healthcare workers on the frontline face a shortage of protective gear.