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5 Brilliant Marketing Campaigns That Made Lemonade Out of the Pandemic’s Lemons

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and PR professionals looking for inspiration on how to execute excellent campaigns have plenty of opportunities to flatter by reviewing some of the work that was done over the course of the Covid-19 era. During a difficult period that included a pandemic, protests and a global economic panic, some public relations campaigns truly rose to the challenge by thinking creatively and executing powerful, memorable branding campaigns. When it comes to impact and ingenuity, these are the acts we want to imitate.

1. Mindspace’s “Can’t Touch This” Photography Project

Global flex space provider Mindspace is a pro at adapting — their brand is built on the nimble use of space for offices and enterprises — so it should come as little surprise that at the very moment physical offices were shut down across the globe, they found a way to use creativity and design to further, rather than diminish, their brand. Mindspace took a simple survey asking 1,000 members about their thoughts on the future of the physical workspace and then took those results, which touched upon anxiety about touching common spaces and sharing areas like toilets and kitchens, and created a series of art-gallery-worthy photographic images that got straight to the zeitgeist of this strange moment in time. Memorable, colorful and impactful, it was a response that struck all the right notes. If you want to see what all the buzz was about, check it out here.

2. Wagamama’s launch of virtual cooking lessons

With restaurants shuttered in nearly every country because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic outlook for the food service industry has been grim. But Wagamama, the beloved Japanese-inspired noodle company, decided to make lemonade out of the pandemic’s lemons, and went several steps further than launching a simple, boring takeout menu. Instead, the company launched a “Wok from Home” series across all their social media channels, offering free video tutorials featuring their own chief executive in the kitchen cooking up a storm and showing customers how to make their favorite Wagamama dishes from the comfort of their own homes. At first, teaching customers to make your restaurant’s dishes for themselves might seem counterintuitive, but when you focus on the long-term gains of the campaign — loyalty, branding and a sense of goodwill and altruism that becomes inextricably linked with the brand — you start to understand exactly how strategic their move was.

3. Detroit Lions — The schedule in Animal Crossing

With public sports on hold because of the pandemic, many teams went on hiatus, and many team managers, marketing executives and PR leads brooded at home and counted the days until there was a vaccine. But the Detroit Lions decided instead to seize the moment. The team made a film with the beloved video game Animal Crossing, using that platform to announce their match schedule for the next season. In a time when tactical sports were on hold, this was tactical PR at its best, one which took a bit of guts — Animal Crossing is wildly “off brand” for the football team — but harnessed the video game’s natural popularity and as a result paid dividends.

4. Getty Museum — Recreations at Home

Los Angeles’s legendary art museum was shuttered by the pandemic. But while its patrons stayed away and its galleries sat empty, the museum’s marketing team put their heads together to strategize creative, unique ways to continue to innovate and engage. And they came up with an idea that was public relations gold: they launched a challenge via social media, inviting the public to recreate classic works of art from the comfort of their living rooms. The challenge tapped into all the right lanes. It was kooky and fun, engaging and exciting, but also safe and socially distanced. It created a sense of community and connection at a moment when we all craved exactly that.

5. Twitter’s billboard tweets across NYC

Social media was designed, at its best, to connect us. And in the year 2020, Twitter helped remind us all that it can do just that, thanks to its ingenious billboard campaign in New York City, in which the social media giant culled some of the best, brightest and most hilarious tweets about the year 2020 from its users and blew them up into massive billboards across New York City. Equal parts funny, enlightening and surprising, the campaign had the ultimate ROI — it got us laughing, together, thanks to words shared on Twitter’s channels. There’s simply no better endorsement for the value of Twitter’s product, and that’s precisely what made the campaign so brilliant.

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