6 creative trends we are seeing from adland amidst COVID-19


Since its outbreak late last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed brands and agencies to think out of the box and inject positivity by engaging with the masses in creative ways- while maintaining social distance. From cheeky initiatives to heartwarming tributes, here are six creative trends that brands and agencies have been seen taking on amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Tweaking logos

Many brands and agencies have put a creative spin on their logos to reflect the impact of COVID-19. In Malaysia, BOLT Kuala Lumpur, the post production arm of TBWA\ Kuala Lumpur, removed its brand logo in a series of Facebook posts featuring KFC, Nando's, Starbucks, Burger King, PappaRich, and Ali, Muthu & Ah Hock Kopitiam. This was to encourage Malaysians to stay at home and opt for delivery when it comes to food. "Let's spread this message (and not anything else) to get Malaysians to [opt for delivery]," the posts said. Similarly, agencies such as Entropia, IDOTYOU, and The Clan have also tweaked their logos to promote social distancing measures implemented in Malaysia.

Meanwhile in Singapore, Tiger Beer recently switched up its logo in a social media post, changing the sun behind its tiger to a house. The ad urged Singaporeans to stay at home during the circuit breaker period, ending with the caption "Support our streets by staying off them". Globally many other brands such as McDonald's, Audi and Yahoo have also taken such steps. 

Separately, a Slovenia-based creative director named Jure Tovrljan redesigned 12 brand logos that reflected the new trend of social distancing. Tovrljan re-designed iconic logos such as Starbucks, Mastercard, Nike, and the Olympics.

2. ‘Remaking’ of movies and TV series posters

The entertainment sector has also gotten a bit of rework on its art covers. Besides recreating iconic logos, Tovyljan subsequently re-designed eight popular TV series including Breaking Bad, F.R.I.E.N.D.S, The Office, and How I Met Your Mother. Speaking to Marketing, Tovrljan said he wanted to spread awareness of social distancing and staying at home through the series.

Meanwhile, a team of four creatives in US-based creative agency, Cornett, came together and redesigned 10 movie posters with famous duos, only to crop out only one of the partners to maintain some distance. As a result, we end up seeing just Thelma in Thelma and Louise, just Harold in Harold and Kumar, and just Will Smith in Bad Boys.

3. Showing appreciation for frontline workers 

The COVID-19 situation is tough, and frontline workers such as healthcare and food delivery personnel are working hard to provide essential products and services. Knowing this, brands have then gotten creative in their way of showing appreciation for these people.

Most recently, Google expressed its thanks through its Google Doodle, which shows it sending love to food service workers. The doodle is then linked to a separate search results page with the phrase “thank you coronavirus helpers” in the search bar.

Both KFC Malaysia and foodpanda Singapore showed their appreciation digitally as well. In separate Facebook posts, both brands featured delivery workers from different companies such as Grab, McDonald’s, and PizzaHut standing together looking like a group of superheroes (which they pretty much are, don’t you think?).

Meanwhile, Singapore agency 72andSunny launched a series of pin badges which are designed and produced pro non, to show its support for healthcare workers. Each badge came with the note “Let’s show some love to our heroes on the frontline”, accompanied by the hashtag #MajulahMedics. Separately, Burger King Singapore gave away free burgers at National University Hospital to thank medical staff for their hard work, and to boost the morale for the individuals caring for the nation at its time of need.

4. Campaigns to get people to stay at home

The COVID-19 virus continues to spread rapidly worldwide, causing governments to implement tighter social distancing measures. This came in the form of lockdowns for countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, where citizens are told to stay at home. To show support for these safety measures, a couple of agencies came up with creative initiatives to encourage citizens to do their part and stay at home.

Digital out-of-home (OOH) advertising provider Brandlah, together with media partners such as Laguna, SkyBlue Media and Labelz, launched multiple OOH ads in Klang Valley, urging Malaysians to stay home during the MCO. Each outdoor billboard is accompanied with the caption "Dear Malaysians, if you can see this, please #StayHome #DudukRumah (sit at home) #KitaJagaKita (let's take care of each other)".

Creative agency TBWA\ Singapore took an online approach and launched a film with IKEA that was made entirely from home. The film featured lives of TBWA\ Singapore’s employees at home, and highlights the simple joys that make home count, such as cuddles, playtime, and working from home. It aimed to not only encourage the public to stay at home, but also to remember enjoying time with loved ones at home.

Tribal DDB also created a website (iamccb.sg). Titled "I am a CCB (community circuit breaker)", the site was positioned essentially as a one-stop resource where Singaporeans can get the latest news, the best shopping deals, a comprehensive list of things to do, and more while staying at home. The site provides daily updates about the COVID-19 situation in Singapore, and even tells users which day of the circuit breaker it is. The site is also filled with singlish terms such as kang tao (opportunities), bao toh (tell on), and belanja (treat). 

5. Virtual backgrounds for web conferences

Since the pandemic started, there has been an increase in the use of remote conferencing services to have meetings while working from home. Seeing the increase in demand, Zoom launched free virtual background for consumers who wish to just slap on a nice video background while taking meetings from their messy living room. The virtual backgrounds include a neat reading space, shots of iconic tourist locations, as well as calming scenery.

Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) then adapted the idea and created its own virtual backgrounds that will enable users to work from Sentosa, without actually leaving your house. The backgrounds include various shots to showcase Sentosa's beaches, attraction sites such as the Madame Tussauds museum, as well as its iconic beach clubs.

Similarly, Audi released specially curated images to be used as a backdrop during video conferencing. The images allowed fans to be behind the wheel virtually, and enjoy the thrill of the road while working from home. Joining this trend is Disney as well, which came up with its series of virtual backgrounds featuring sights from Disney parks around the world.   

6. Digitalised music performances

With large gatherings disallowed and entertainment venues banned in efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, brands have also found ways to bring the entertainment online for its consumers.

Malaysian coffee brand WONDA Coffee held its first-ever concert-from-home in an effort to keep its consumers entertained amidst the MCO. The “Konsert #WONDADiRumah” featured different Malaysian artists each day, with each session played for up to 30 minutes on Astro Ria or ERA IG TV.

In Singapore, local nightclub Zouk partnered with esports company Razer and streaming app Bigo Live to launch a cloud clubbing livestream. The livestream bring the clubbing experience to its consumers after the government banned all entertainment venues as a social distancing measure. Zouk curated a series of closed-door sets that will be streamed to viewers on Razer’s Bigo Live channel. The sets will feature Zouk's resident DJs, as well as guest appearances from the local music community. During the set, viewers will be able to interact with the DJs via the livestream chat.

Have you seen any other creative trends that brands and agencies are jumping on? Tell us at graceo@marketing-interactive.com!

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