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How Companies Like Spotify and IKEA Used The COVID-19 Pandemic As Inspiration For Their Marketing Campaigns


Almost nine in 10 marketers are putting their campaigns on ice while COVID-19 continues to cause unknown disruptions to business. But thank goodness for the remaining 10%, where some of them are giving us fantastically inspirational marketing campaigns to keep the wheels turning, keep a smile on our dial, and keep their customers happy.


Ale Asylum

How many times have you cursed COVID-19 for ruining your weekend, work situation, or your entire life? Well, Ale Asylum brewery based in Madison, Wisconsin, has literally got the words out of our mouths and slapped them on a can of beer to help drown our isolation sorrows. Their new brew, FVCK COVID was released on National Beer Day in early April through a virtual brewery tour on Facebook.


Founder Otto Dilba said in a press release about the unexpected addition to their 2020 brewing lineup, “the name may not be subtle, but it succinctly captures exactly how we all feel about this moment”.


They are of course providing online ordering and non-contact pickups.


A portion of sales from the pilsner will be donated to those working on the front line at area hospitals and those who have lost their jobs in the hospitality sector. We’ll drink to that.



Coors Light

What is it about booze and great ad campaigns - even in the time of COVID19?


When the Coors Light team saw the amazing money-can’t-buy photo that was going around social media like Twitter, they couldn’t ignore it. The photo was taken of Olive Veronesi from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a 93-year-old accidental brand ambassador who was heeding the advice of health authorities and staying at home. But when she ran out of beer she needed to let those around her know about it to avoid disaster. So with the help of a whiteboard and four little words, Olive was snapped with her S.O.S message and it soon went viral.



The beer company swiftly showed up at Olive’s home with a special delivery of 150 cans of cold gold. The delivery mission was filmed, as was the moment Olive cracked a fresh beer on her porch. She was quoted as saying “I was on my last 12 cans, I have a beer every night, you know what, beer has vitamins in it, it’s good for you, as long as you don’t overdo it,” Olive says. How wise of her and such a sweet lady!




Dove are really very good at hitting straight to the heart campaigns that make you think. Dove Canada’s response during COVID is no different. A recent campaign shares a series of intimate portraits of healthcare workers with, what initially appears to be facial scarring. You then realise it’s the deep imprint on their faces of wearing face masks, a new norm. The still-image montage video is simple yet powerful.


The campaign is a thank you to health care workers, with the campaign called ‘Courage is Beautiful’.


And they’re putting their product where their mouth is with a parting message on the video saying “As a thank you we’re donating care products to front-line healthcare workers in Canada.”






Full video:




Belgium based lifestyle magazine for young women, along with their agency FamousGrey, decided to do something about the well-we-can-no-longer-touch-people-but-doesn’t-mean-we-can’t-reach-out-to-people situation we find ourselves in. They pulled together a series of light-hearted COVID-19 messages amended from popular song lyrics and expressions to spread a bit of joy and positivity and encourage others to share on social media.


They’ve paired this with relevant content on their site including “BUCKET LIST: 19 things you must have done during quarantine” and “7 ways to celebrate your original wedding date if you canceled your wedding due to Corona”.


The agency beautifully summed up their campaign by saying ““Because there is no containment for love, and nothing is stronger than the power of words – especially at this time.”





Urgh, IKEA - they get it so right so often. IKEA Israel took the lead with the help of their agency McCann Tel-Aviv Israel, to help push along the Stay at Home message with an incredibly on-brand ‘how to’ stay at home guide. With limited text, iconography and illustration, they’ve produced a no-nonsense, public service announcement with the perfect touch of humour, timeliness and social commentary (given the toilet paper hoarding that many countries have put up with).


The below ‘manual’ was posted first on IKEA Israel’s Facebook page with the simple instruction - It's really not complex - just staying at home. Perhaps their most easy-to-follow directions ever. No allen keys needed.


ikea isreal


Poor Tom’s

Before #ToiletPaperGate 2020, I was struggling to get a hold of hand sanitizer at the supermarket. I’m not a prepper (ok I am, but I wasn’t hunting for a bottle of sani for prepping purposes), but I have a young kid and hand sanitizer is one of my ‘must have’ items for whenever we leave the house. Because, well, kids are gross.


But alas, the no hand sanitiser persisted. Turns out a lot of preppers were getting prepped well before me, and well before toilet paper shortages made the news, every single bottle of hand sanitiser quietly left the shelves. Beyond my personal non-COVID-19 desires for hand sanitiser, it’s become a must-have for most homes, certainly all bricks-and-mortar businesses, and an absolute necessity for healthcare professionals and institutions. But a shortage is wreaking havoc on requirements.


Enter, booze companies. Hand sanitiser is mostly alcohol, and booze companies are, well, mostly alcohol. So it makes sense that everyone from Shane Warne’s gin company to cult gin company Poor Tom’s is making hospital grade sanitiser to a) help everyone b) help their business. While Poor Tom’s is restricting their purchasing to health professionals, they’re surprising and delighting customers with a free bottle of ‘hand sani’ with any gin purchase. Music to our ears.





Thank god for Spotify. It’s not the first time I’ve said this - I’ve been singing their praises for years, but in COVID-19 times it has become even more essential. I also love the radio, but I’m saturated from news headlines and COVID-19 updates that I need a break, and Spotify’s got my back.


A series of new imagery from Spotify has been released, with their usual round logo transformed into a face mask shape and a series of simple tag-lines including “Spread Music Not COVID-19”. Heeding their advice by staying indoors and turning the music UP.



The Design Files

Chances are you’re reading this from the comfort of your home/office. Such is the new way of life. The Design Files, Australia’s most popular design blog, tapped into this when producing their daily round of content to showcase some of the best home offices of creatives around Australia. With their to-be-expected stunning photography and words to boot, this isn’t a campaign as such, but it’s a relevant and wonderful piece of content that has read the pulse of their readers, and delivered perfectly.






It must be very difficult for a company to tell its customers “please don’t use us” while doing it with grace and humility. But Uber has effectively done it. In this ad spot, looking to be shot predominantly by UCG (or made to look like it) it captures a series of ‘new normals’ showing people at home in self isolation.

From the upbeat - at home haircuts, virtual house parties with friends and wine, YouTube yoga sessions interrupted by your pets, creative solutions to keep the kids entertained, to the not-upbeat realities - toddler meltdowns, sad hugs, longing for outdoors and social contact.


It pulls at your heartstrings and ends with the message, “Stay home for everyone who can’t. Thank you for not riding with us.”


Full video:



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