APAC ads top most emotionally engaging COVID-19 campaigns globally


APAC ads have been ranked as the top most emotionally engaging coronavirus campaigns in the world by video marketplace Unruly. According to Unruly’s measurements, Google Japan’s “Thank You” campaign topped the chart after attracting the most intense emotions of any coronavirus creative. The ad was three times more emotional than the average Japanese ad, respondents said.

Viewers around the globe watching response ads placed Singapore government’s “Together, We Can” and Tourism Australia’s “With Love From Aus” in second and third places respectively, with ads from AirAsia, Prudential and Colgate also making the top 10.


Unruly created the chart using its emotional testing and targeting tool, UnrulyEQ to see which global ads are generating the most intense levels of positivity in their respective regions. According to Unruly, this comes shortly after a recent survey saw two-thirds of consumers say how brands respond to the pandemic will have a “huge impact” on their likelihood to buy their products and services in the future, ensuring brands’ messaging hits home has never been more important.

To account for differences in how people express themselves emotionally around the world, ads were ranked using Unruly’s EMO Index, which measures the intensity of emotions an ad generated compared to the territory average. As well as generating intense emotions, Google Japan’s “Thank You” also scored the highest for brand favourability and purchase intent.

Sam Ho, insight and solutions manager, Singapore, at Unruly, said the intensity of emotional responses by Japanese consumers to ads is typically 50% lower than the global average, so it’s surprising to see Google Japan’s: “Thank You” stand out as the strongest performer when compared to 51 other COVID-19 related video ads. “However, when you watch the ad, it’s easy to see why it performed so strongly. The whole ad is comprised of footage shot on mobile phones and captured from video calls, which creates an aura of authenticity and amplifies the sense of empowerment generated by the video's structure and content,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ho added that the Gov.sg ad, which showcases people from all walks of life stepping up to support each other, warmed the hearts of Singaporeans. This ties in with Unruly’s findings that Singaporeans want ads to show how brands are supporting stakeholders during this difficult time. While, the Tourism Australia campaign’s heartfelt message, along with scenic images of Australia, evoked strong feelings of happiness, warmth and inspiration among viewers, the survey revealed.

“There’s no pushy, salesy message, just promises of ‘repainted views and lighter horizon’ for travellers to enjoy once again, amplifying positive brand favourability and post-viewing intentions for Tourism AU. So, by staying in the minds of the consumers during this period, Tourism AU can immediately flip their switch from survival to revival once travel restrictions are lifted,” Ho said.

Although dominated by ads tested in APAC, three UK ads make it into the top 10, with ITV’s “Apart. But Never Alone”, featuring celebs Gordon Ramsay and Davina McCall urging people to stay at home, finishing fourth ahead of the NHS’ “Stay At Home” and Jack Daniels’ “With Love, Jack”. Another ad from Google -- “Thank You Healthcare Workers” -- is the only US campaign to make it into the top 10. The highest ranked German ad is BfG’s “Danke für Ihre Unterstützung” in 20th.

According to Ho, ads that resonated strongly with viewers tended to focus on advocating and thanking communities and groups most affected by COVID-19, such as healthcare workers, and has minimal specific product messaging. Meanwhile, ads that instruct viewers in the ways that they can still interact with the brand and their products during the pandemic tended to not only be less emotionally engaging, but also attracted lower scores for more rational metrics, such as purchase intent and intent to find out more, he explained.

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