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The global pandemic COVID-19, known to have begun from Wuhan, China, continues to impact most of the world. Since the disease is confirmed to spread through physical interaction, the best way to limit it is by practicing social distancing and isolation, hence most countries are either on lockdown mode, limiting movement or practicing social distancing.

The situation can lead to an unanchored advertising fraternity, and so, numerous industry players have taken upon the task of ensuring that the advertising and marketing fraternity is able to get out of this crisis as a stronger community. The goal of each of these entities is to spread positivity and be the beacon of hope that is required to move forward.

  1. Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity establishes ‘Creativity Moves Us Forward’

While these chaotic times have led to many events being cancelled, including a number of top advertising festivals across the world like Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Dubai Lynx 2020, Spikes Asia 2020 etc.

This news must have come off as extremely depressing not just for the participants but also for anyone in the industry or for those aspiring to be in the industry. Therefore, to make sure that the depression does not hang in the air, Cannes Lions created a platform to incorporate stories that would generate inspiration amongst the community; spreading the message that indeed ‘Creativity moves us forward’. This way, the otherwise world’s largest creativity festival is also ensuring that they stay connected with the advertising and marketing fraternity while providing a platform where the community can flourish in the current isolatory times.

  1. The Work | Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

The Work is a platform where creative advertising works are archived. Cannes Lions has made  the platform free to university students aspiring to be in the industry, and is paving way for students to have all the inspiration whilst staying home. In time, as the new generation of creatives appears, we will realize how much inspiration these platforms were able to induce.

  1. McDonald’s Thank You Meal

McDonald’s USA is currently running a two week long campaign that started on April 22, and is supposed to end on May 5, 2020. In a press conference, McDonald’s USA President Joe Erlinger announced that the brand is going to thank the first responders to the COVID-19 pandemic including paramedics, healthcare workers, police officers and fire fighters by making available a Thank You meal that they can obtain for free by showing their ID. This meal is to be served in the brand’s signature Happy Meal boxes with the toy replaced by a thank you note for the recipients.

McDonald’s national creative agency Wieden & Kennedy New York came up with this idea for the campaign and to promote it further they added a hint of nostalgia to it. In one of the commercials, McDonald’s displayed a montage of photographs of the first responders from the time in their childhood when they visited McDonalds before proceeding to show them in their current uniforms.

In the other ad, a McDonald’s employee is shown putting up an outdoor sign to announce and inform passersby of this campaign.

  1. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola put space between its tightly connected letters and displayed the ad on its  Times Square New York billboard, distancing all the letters in the logo with the message, ‘Staying apart is the best way to stay united’.

It’s no coincidence that the world’s largest beverage marketer chose one of the most crowded places in the world – currently empty due to the ongoing pandemic.

The idea of the ad was created in partnership with Mercado McCann, Argentina.

  1. Mercado Libre

Mercado Libre, a Latin American e-commerce company, took a similar approach to alter its logo to promote good hygiene. The logo that is of a handshake has now turned into an elbow touch to endorse that physical interaction such as handshakes should be avoided amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Being an e-commerce company that reaches a large number of people, the brand realizes its responsibility and is committed to “helping our users and collaborators with different prevention, solidarity, and responsible consumption initiatives,” according to Louise McKerrow, Mercado Libre’s branding director, as reported by Campaign USA.

The brand will keep its logo altered for as long as necessary across all points of contact including its online platform and social media accounts.

  1. Audi VolksWagen

Similarly, Audi and Volkswagen have also altered their logo temporarily in the light of COVID-19.

Audi which has four intertwined rings to represent 4 motor vehicle manufacturers – Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer, have changed its logo to promote the idea of social distancing by separating the four iconic rings.

Volkswagen was also on the frontline with a similar message. In a heart touching video uploaded on the brand’s YouTube channel, the car manufacturing giant discussed that while previous crises required sticking together ‘shoulder to shoulder’, this particular crisis requires distancing from each other, and in that emotional moment, the ‘V’ and ‘W’ in the Volkswagen logo move apart.

The brand – like others – has taken this measure temporarily till the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are there to be seen.

The advertising and marketing industry all over the world has been quick to adapt to this crisis and modify their messages and actions to play a role against the global pandemic in their own way. While some have focused on advocating social distancing and isolation, others have focused on ensuring that the isolation period has lesser negative effects in the long run. These measures collectively ensure that at the end of the lockdown, the community that emerges after having been limited to their homes is as imaginative, creative and positive as it was before the horror of the pandemic descended.

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