When the COVID-19 virus spun out of control into a full-blown global pandemic, life as we knew it suddenly changed, and the advertising industry was no exception. Brands large and small across each and every vertical immediately had to pause, then stop, then pivot completely in all outbound communications.
Ads showing people congregating together became taboo, giving way to an onslaught of Zoom-meeting-esque spots and sentimental stock footage montages thanking healthcare practitioners and other frontline workers who were integral in keeping people safe and the economy fluttering along.
But in the past several months, with vaccine distribution accelerating and most US adults now having received at least their first dose, the world is in a quite different place, with optimism and positive momentum quickly alleviating much of the fear and despair that had become commonplace. And with this welcome turn of events, the ad world has responded accordingly, ushering in “the Great Reopening.”
Below are some of our favorite ads from The Great Reopening.
- Budweiser teamed up with the Ad Council on a spot called “Good Times Are Coming,” showing people gathering in bars, at baseball games, concerts and backyard barbecues, set to the song “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Jimmy Durante. “Good times are coming,” the ad reads. “Now we have a shot.”
- Google released a heartwarming spot dubbed “Get back to what you love”, building the spot around the most common search engine queries over the past year, including “quarantine,” “virtual happy hour,” and “school closings.” As the ad progresses, these somber searches are deleted and replaced with phrases to denote reopening, like “pants” instead of “sweatpants,” and “family activities” instead of “pandemic family activities.”
- In the U.K., retailer John Lewis urged consumers to “come on in” as it reopened stores and amenities like dressing rooms, nursery appointments and in-person stylings.
- Starbucks featured their mobile app prominently in their “welcome back” digital spot, showcasing a message focused on contactless order and pay to assuage any lingering fears customers may have in the wake of COVID.
- Coca Cola Nigeria decided to move far beyond celebrating a return to a new normal and instead used their spot to discuss change for the better, homing in on moments that we have all taken for granted, and finishing with a call to action, #openlikeneverbefore.
- Similarly, Durex urges consumers to resist going back to normal, drawing attention to societal issues that cause people not to carry or use condoms, preventing safe sex.
- Adidas reminds us that impossible challenges are always all around us, and no matter what, must be faced and overcome.
- Apple poked fun on the proverbial elephant in the room when it comes to the new work-from-home phenomenon – it’s fraught with challenges that range from terrifying to hilarious.
- Amazon Prime reminded consumers that when it comes to convenience and fast delivery, they are still undisputed champions, celebrating 2-hour grocery delivery in this fun and peppy spot.
- And finally, Heineken welcomes everybody #BacktotheBars.
While every company is approaching the grand reopening in a tone and mood that best fits their own respective brand ethos, one thing is certain – the entire ad world has turned the page and refocused their attention on what’s next.
So what’s next for your brand?