Welcome to the new normal. Our lives have changed, and our marketing has too. It’s a tall order to create lockdown content – not least because ambulance chaser is an ugly look on anyone, but because of the logistical challenges of filming at a distance.
And so, unsurprisingly, we’ve seen a deluge of identikit ads. Compilations of self-filmed footage carefully managed sincerity, and heart-swelling music, hastily turned around in two weeks or less. This is not inherently bad. But, if your content has more in common with Chris Morris’ National Crisis Film than your usual branding, it’s worth reconsidering your strategy.
Let’s look at Spotify. Last year’s ‘Listen like you used to’ campaign, absolutely banged. Why? Because it was built on listener data, rooted in reality, and crucially, relevant to the brand. For their lockdown campaign, ‘Listening Together’, they repeated the formula. Using live data, the Listening Together microsite flags when two users choose the same track, at the same moment. Right now, two Spotify members in Australia and Israel are simultaneously listening to Float On by Modest Mouse, and now, I am too.
Listening Together, whilst not the juggernaut of ‘Listen like you used to’, gets lockdown content right. It captures our longing for community and delivers it in a recognisably ‘Spotify’ way. It manages to be moving without losing the brand, and because of this, it feels more sincere than an out-and-out attempt to tug the heartstrings.
So what can we take away from this? In short, read the room, respond, but stay true to your brand, or you may achieve nothing beyond simply blending in.