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Thursday Thinky: Confinement & Creativity

Are you ready for April aka an entire month of confinement? Parents, no need to answer, I feel for you. If you’re able to find a minute for yourself you might enjoy this Thinky, as we’re looking at a bunch of creative ideas coming out of the current situation. Because yes, it’s hard to escape the coronavirus (no pun intended) and the campaign world is no exception. However, some really cool ideas are being put out there to try to adjust to our new normal. This week, it’s all over the place and we love it!

Jack Daniels is celebrating all of our new socializing ways. The State of Oregon is leaning into the weird (you know what they say about Portland), especially for a government, with tips on how to not become a murderer. Students created an amazing campaign for Netflix. And, we’re getting a new #GivingTuesday in May!

Hope you enjoy this dose of creativity. Have a great day!



Creative & Brand


Jack DanielsRaising a glass to all who socializing while apart (Muse by Clio)

From Amy (SVP Creative + Brand Strategy): It’s hard not to smile when you watch this spot from Jack Daniels, mostly because the moments it shows are real for every one of us. They’re the crowdsourced scenes of socially distanced connections between friends, family, loved ones via phones and computers, that have become part of our daily lives. Without saying a word, the lyrics and story convey a wealth of emotions. And, in a very smart move by JD and its agency, Energy BBDO, there’s not a drop of overt branding to be seen throughout.

This is a feel-good, we’re in this together, raise your glass kind of brand message that didn’t even need the glass to be present to hit the mark. And while the spot itself doesn’t have an overt tie to any support efforts, the brand’s parent company “recently pledged $1 million to fight COVID-19, while the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Tennessee began producing hand sanitizer for first responders.” In this instance, I’m personally OK with them keeping the two ideas separate. One supports our spirits (pun intended), the other our communities. And the impact is appreciated in both realms.


Anti Covid19 Screensavers

From Amy (SVP Creative + Brand Strategy): Creatives have always taken issues (and initiative) in our own hands, and this “we can save the world” spirit has been showing up in full force throughout the COVID crisis.

In this instance, two designers uncovered an “aha!” insight about the spread of the virus: “the thing people rely on the most to keep in touch with their families, friends, and the news about what’s going on in the world can also be the worst source of contagion.” What’s this “thing” they’re talking about? Your phone.

To raise awareness and remind people to clean their phones (and their hands, and their faces…), they created a wallpaper depicting extreme close-ups of the germs that could be lurking on your screen. It’s a simple, creative, striking tactic to encourage better hygiene right now, and something that anyone can use. I do believe that calling your phone “the worst source of contagion” is a bit of fear exaggeration, as someone coughing on you while you’re minding your business getting more trail mix at the store is probably more of a risky situation. Nonetheless, it’s a lovely initiative from folks who are trying to make the best of this, just like all of us. Only thing…perhaps the downloads could be a thank you for a small donation to a nonprofit? Could they have pitched this to a brand or other company to provide some matching funds? Impact ideas to ponder.


State of Oregon – If you don’t stay home, you could wind up a killer (Muse by Clio)

From Amy (SVP Creative + Brand Strategy): This campaign is pretty powerful—and in an odd sort of way, brings a touch of dark humor to the conversation in this unprecedented time. Granted, humor was probably not an objective in the creative brief, nor was it necessarily the intention here. But there’s something surreal, in a Twilight Zone/Black Mirror sort of way, about your city telling you to stay home so you don’t wind up killing someone. Of course, we all know the exaggeration is not THAT far fetched. But it’s a bold approach from a government organization, and because of its tone and visual approach, it doesn’t seem as obligatory/uninspired as some of the work we shared last week from AdCouncil.

Beyond the sensibility, what makes this campaign work is how the Oregon Health Authority, together with agency Weiden + Kennedy Portland, was able to flip large-scale statistics on their head to show the individual impact of not staying inside. “1.4% of Oregonians could die. An average person knows 600 people. Which means 5 people you know could lose their lives.” This hits home, in a very personal way that has the potential to actually change minds and behaviors. Bravo to the team on this for using brutal honesty, and human psychology, to help flatten the curve.


Netflix Spec Campaign – The spoiler billboards (Ads of the World)

From Amy (SVP Creative + Brand Strategy): In another example of creatives taking things into their own hands, this spec campaign for Netflix (read: not real or endorsed by the brand), from two Miami Ad School students, comes at the message of “stay home to flatten the curve” from a completely different kind of unexpected place: if you leave your house, we will ruin your favorite TV shows with spoilers. Sure, it’s a little bit evil, but it’s also playful enough, and smart enough, to catch people off guard, and make them think twice.

The flip of the construct around WHY you should stay inside is what really makes this work–it’s a purely selfish reason, in contrast with the altruistic messaging about how our individual actions help others stay healthy. I don’t know if Netflix would go for something like this in reality, but I do see a bright future for the two creatives who developed the campaign.




Snapchat x Ad Council – Teaming up on Mental Health (Muse by Clio)

From Amy (SVP Creative + Brand Strategy): Social media is typically known for creating more anxiety and depression, especially in teens—not helping to combat it. But last week, Snapchat recognized that with all of the additional stress and fear being caused by the Coronavirus (and more kids at home = more screen time), they had a responsibility to do something to help. Together with AdCouncil, they created “Here for You,” a feature that surfaces content from local partners and professionals whenever someone searches for topics around anxiety, depression, bullying, etc.

It’s a really interesting move, bringing this kind of support natively into the platform. But I do question whether or not teens are open to this kind of outreach and education. The fact that it’s hidden may be the biggest selling point–I would imagine that your search history within Snap wouldn’t necessarily be visible to parents, so that teens who are afraid or embarrassed to talk about their fears out loud could use this as a safe resource for getting help. It’ll be interesting, in a few months, to see if users are really taking advantage of the feature, or simply brushing it aside. But either way, kudos to Snap for addressing a genuine problem through some innovative thinking.




No More x National Domestic Violence Hotline – Listening from home during coving-19 (The Inspiration Room)

From Melvin (Account Director): For victims of domestic abuse, there’s currently no escape. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are trapped inside their homes, forced to potentially be confined with their abusers. That’s the reason why No More and the National Domestic Violence Hotline created the #ListeningFromHome campaign. Targeting people who are now working for home, this campaign raises awareness of the warning signs of domestic abuse by comparing them to how invisible the coronavirus is and encourages them to get help if they hear something suspicious.

The campaign can be seen on social and outdoors with the striking tagline “She’s been isolated and living in fear for years.” If the concept and the visuals are powerful, I wish the CTAs were a bit more clear. No More is sending people to a blog post about the campaign that doubles as a hidden lead gen effort if you try to download the campaign poster, while the NDVH includes two different links, one to a donation page and one to a resource page. I would have loved a joint landing page or website instead with a clear CTA. It would have made the execution that much better.




Coronavirus Targeted #GivingTuesday Now Set For May 5 (Nonprofit Times)

From Nicola Leckie (Account Director): The big fundraising news this week is the announcement of #GivingTuesdayNow. Set for May 5, 2020, this new global day of action is intended to rally people around the world to tap into the power of human connection and strengthen communities. Communities are encouraged to take action on behalf of first responders, as well as the world’s other – often forgotten – frontline workers: the nonprofits and community organizations that feed, house, educate, and nurture neighbors impacted by the global pandemic. The social sector is in crisis at the very moment the world needs it most, let the #GivingTuesdayNow plans begin.




18 gaming brands unite to spread health messages (Campaign Live)

From Clara (Senior Advocacy Account Strategist): I’ve always loved that feeling, that thrill, of being in an IMAX theatre and hearing the Dolby sound check, right before the big IMAX logo comes on and it says something like, “Why watch a movie when you can be in one.” Video games today are some of the most immersive and connective experiences in the digital world, and it’s great to see the heavies banding together to serve their audiences by providing them with content and connection during this crisis.


Thanks for reading today’s Thinky. See you next week!

PS: If any of the above made your wheels spin, we’d love to hear your thoughts — get in touch with us!

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