Brand campaigns are pivoting. What path will you take?

Signpost with 2 paths with text above "How can you pivot for today's new path?" Green Orange

Our world has changed irrevocably and we currently have no idea what all the changes will ultimately be. These challenging times offer an opportunity for brands to get their message right and allow brand campaigns to add value. If done correctly, brands will not just survive, but they may also thrive.

Brands have the power to unite us, inspire us and forge a new way forward if they are willing to try.

The great news is that 79% of brands questioned by the WFA said they were creating new messages that responded directly to the effects of the virus pandemic on those using their products and services. And they were acting now. Most were already on-air or going live imminently.

Here are some tips and inspirations on what you can do to pivot your brand messaging and drive engaging design.

Pivot your brand messaging

Ensuring the tone is right is key. A number of brands have pulled ads due to the coronavirus outbreak amid concerns that their messaging is not in step with the public mood. This includes KFC pausing its ‘Finger lickin’ good’ campaign and Cadbury halting its Easter ad, which showed two children visiting their grandfather.

The tone should be one of compassion. The WordStream blog offers some guidelines:

  • Be sensitive
  • Avoid humor (but you can stress the bright side)
  • Take a neutral or supportive stance
  • Think contribution, not conversion
  • Stay optimistic, but don’t overpromise

Some great examples of public service announcements from global giants:

Engaging brand campaigns design

At a time when messaging can be confronting, great design can soften the impact, engage and even entertain. Although some designers are perplexed about how to make this happen when video production and photoshoots are on hold? Agencies are getting creative with the resources they’ve got, including stock footage, animation, archives, and … user-generated content.

“It’s back to the basics. No ornamentation. No glitzy hoopla. Just the idea, plain and simple.”

Katie Roach, executive producer, Planet Propaganda

So it comes as no surprise that some of the greatest designs are coming from non-traditional sources – advertising challenges, isolating freelancers, and advertising community contests.

Irish freelance copywriter Luke O’Reilly created the ad as part of a One Minute Briefs challenge.


Brands adjusting their campaign messaging, design, and production in light of the global pandemic is evident far and wide. The most successful of these are utilizing their creative power to connect meaningfully with consumers to help us all flourish in the new normal.