With media already bought for this month, frozen food brand Birds Eye has chosen to create a new and relevant campaign in just 18 days rather than going dark during the current coronavirus outbreak.

Sarah Koppens, UK and Ireland marketing director at Birds Eye, said it was important for the household name to not simply disappear – yet it would have been inappropriate to promote individual products and encourage people to buy more.

“At times of uncertainty consumers really appreciate having a consistent message and having brands they know and trust out there talking to them and saying, ‘Look we were here before, we’re here during, we’ll be here after and we’re going to go through this with you’,” she told Marketing Week.

Having a consistent message doesn’t have to mean running the same copy and Birds Eye has adopted a reassuring tone for its new advertising campaign which has been designed to provide comfort and support as families across Europe adjust to lockdown conditions.

The ‘What’s for Tea?’ campaign, created in just 18 days and with creative meetings held by video conference due to social distancing rules, shows vignettes of families playing together, cooking, video-calling relatives and doing workouts in front of the television.

The content is designed to be optimistic, and to reflect the experiences of people across Europe given that there was time to make only one version of the creative. The campaign is also supported by an online resource hub to help families find fun things to do during the lockdown.

Bird’s Eye’s approach chimes with recent advice from media and marketing consultancy Ebiquity, which has found considerable evidence that there are significant rewards to be had for brands that maintain or increase their advertising investment during a crisis.

While it’s tempting to trim budgets when the economy is under pressure, brands that “go dark” face a struggle to rebuild their presence when recovery begins.

“Market share performance is related to share of voice,” Christian Polman, chief strategy officer at Ebiquity, told a recent online town hall event convened by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF). (For more read WARC’s report: Why brands that maintain share of voice in a recession will build long-term equity.)

He advised brands to protect their equity by:

• Maintaining share of voice

• Playing a long-term game

• Keeping an eye on short-term strategy

• Maintaining adspend

• Planning for the recovery 

Sourced from Marketing Week, WARC