With directors and creatives locked indoors for weeks on end, agencies have had to rethink how they make advertising. Huge crews and lavish productions are out, putting more emphasis than ever before on the idea at the heart of it all. And all this comes during a time of international anxiety, with many brands unsure how to respond to the coronavirus crisis in the first place.
But in recent weeks there have been some promising steps forward. Škoda released a trio of homemade ads using miniature cars – all filmed in the homes of the directors – and Maltesers mocked our new reliance on Zoom. Facebook has also tapped into the role video chat is playing, with an ad made from content generated using its Messenger Rooms service, and soundtracked by Lizzo.
So what makes for a successful lockdown campaign? To begin with, it requires some of the same ingredients as any normal ad – a good relationship with your client, a level of honesty, and an idea that fits the brand. For example, making a Maltesers ad that showed four women on a Zoom call didn’t feel a hundred miles away from some of the brands previous creative executions. Beyond that however, things get more tricky. The restrictions of lockdown mean there’s far less of the usual spit and polish to rely on, leaving the idea pretty bare.