Since the end of March 2022, with the doubling of China's new crown zero epidemic policy, the number of infected people in Shanghai has continued to rise, and Shanghai has fallen into a global blockade. The weeks-long blockade, bottlenecks and restrictions on transportation and logistics, pressure on the production and supply chain, the guarantee of basic living materials for residents, and medical and health demands are all facing many obstacles.

More than 20 million people live in Shanghai. As China's largest economic, financial, industrial and shipping center city, the shutdown of Shanghai not only has a pivotal impact on China's overall economic recovery, but also affects the volatility of the global economy and capital markets. The Shanghai blockade also reminds us once again that the epidemic, as the biggest "variable" in the market, will still bring new challenges to the brand at any time when deploying any strategy and strategy.

Consumers are facing difficulties at home and market sentiment is unprecedentedly depressed. What can brands do? We have sorted out excellent cases from various industries and categories in different markets around the world in the WARC think tank, and will analyze and interpret the cases from multiple perspectives through several "case dry goods" series, in order to bring practitioners different perspectives for reference and reference. In the first issue, a total of 4 cases were analyzed in this issue.

1. Activating the brand mission from the foundation of people's livelihood can build a long-term sustainable positive impact

The country puts the people first, and the people take food as the sky. The recent blockade in Shanghai has made "grocery shopping" a keyword that appears most frequently on social media. Recently, due to factors such as logistics restrictions, many Shanghai residents were suddenly caught off guard by food shortages and difficulties in purchasing living materials.

Although there are many brands and companies that have joined the donation of food and materials, due to various objective constraints, there are still challenges in delivering materials to the people on time. This also makes us think: In addition to donating food and supplies, are there other effective and more proactive ways of assistance under difficult circumstances? The case of "Rooftop Farms" may give us some inspiration.

In 2019, Egypt was affected by the economic crisis, the country fell into poverty, and food crises occurred everywhere. Under such circumstances, Unilever's food brand Knorr's "Rooftop Farms" campaign challenged traditional charitable donations and experimented with a transformative approach.

Knorr, a food brand owned by Unilever, hopes to become a brand with a stronger sense of mission, and when a food brand comes to a market facing hunger, their thinking on helping to improve the hunger and poverty of the Egyptian people is: how can they serve the local people? Continued positive impact from the market, rather than a one-time charitable giving?

As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, "It is better to teach a man to fish than to teach him how to fish", Knorr discovered that if they just donated food, they could only feed the hungry for one day. But if you help them grow food and provide them with the funds they need, you can keep them fed for a lifetime.

Knorr changed the concept of "charity" from just "the act of donating food" to "the food-based empowerment action". The one-off “give-take” model of traditional philanthropy was overturned through the “rooftop farm” campaign. Working with engineers using hydroponics technology, Knorr has created fully sustainable food gardens on rooftops across Egypt, which farmers run themselves.

Knorr promoted this new and transformative business model across Egypt through films, social media and PR campaigns. This battle not only changed the lives of the Egyptian people, but also changed the arid and barren land landscape of Egyptian cities, creating verdant rooftop farms full of vegetables.

Knorr has proven that doing good deeds can bring benefits to brand business. Consumers love Knorr more than other brands, and Knorr's brand reputation and business have grown objectively across Egypt. This is not just a charity project, but also creates a sustainable closed-loop template for empowerment: "Popularize the method - Provide production materials - Guide the production process - Acquire results - Continuous production".

Starting from the foundation of people's livelihood to empower the poor, Knorr reinvented its food donation activities and practiced its brand purpose by activating the way of creating innovative food planting solutions in an unconventional way. What's more, with the support of the Egyptian president, the idea of "rooftop farms" has also been incorporated into Egypt's national plan. More rooftop farms are expected under Egypt's skyline. These farms will continue to grow and continue to benefit the Egyptian people.

Unilever Knorr: Rooftop Farms

Brand: Knorr Knorr

Brand owner: Unilever Unilever

Main Agency: FP7 McCann Cairo

Placed on the market: Egypt

Case source: 2021 WARC Awards for MENA Strategy Gold Award, Long-Term Strategy Award Case

👉🏻WARC subscribers can click here to jump to read the full case

2. Expanding brand propositions in tough times to provide consumers with morale and collective purpose

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, announced in his opening remarks at the 74th World Health Assembly in May 2021 that more than 110,000 medical workers died in the first 18 months of the new crown pneumonia epidemic alone. In the past few years of the fight against the new crown pneumonia epidemic, if it were not for the medical workers all over the world to risk their lives and bear the burden, the number of people who disappeared because of the new crown virus would be far more shocking than now.

All medical workers on the front lines of the fight against the epidemic are undoubtedly heroes of the times. Dove, one of the world's largest personal care brands, launched the "Courage is Beautiful" campaign in 15 countries around the world at the beginning of the new crown epidemic to pay tribute to the heroic actions of the "most beautiful retrogrades" , and successfully expanded its brand proposition "Real Beauty", which has been carried out for more than ten years in the world.

In the past 16 years, Dove has launched and accumulated many well-known battles around the meaning of "beauty", which has established its iconic status in the value and purpose-oriented brand. However, the gloomy start of 2020 also brought a lot of challenges to Dove's brand campaign work.

Dove has pledged $7.5 million in products, equipment and donations to support healthcare workers around the world, as a tribute to the heroes on the front lines. How to announce this news, and at the same time be loyal to the platform of Dove's "Real Beauty Movement"? How can the definition of "beauty" continue without manipulating and exploiting the epidemic?

Dove's insight was obtained from the portrait photos of the scars left by the front-line medical staff wearing masks for a long time: this is the most real appearance of "beauty" in the era of the new crown epidemic, regardless of skin color, fatness or appearance. Defined, but formed by "courage". Dauphin was able to find a perspective to examine "beauty" under the epidemic, shape its strategy from a new perspective, and expand the "true beauty of confidence" into "the true beauty of courage".

This time, in the Dove Beauty Campaign, there were no clean, smiling beauties, but tired but brave faces, slightly embarrassed but persevering eyes. The simple photo delivery showcases the selfless bravery of these true heroes in their most authentic moments. It is a raw and pure courage that cannot be performed, staged, and embellished, and Dove presents this beauty to the world.

The "Courage is a Beauty" campaign combines social media, TV, DOOH, earned media, and as people around the world join in to thank healthcare workers, Dove has created a platform to rally global solidarity A tribute to the heroism of healthcare workers. The campaign successfully achieved its dissemination goals, achieving more than 2 billion impressions worldwide.

In the United States, Dove also achieved positive improvements in key brand equity metrics. It was the only brand at the time in the beauty and personal care category in the U.S. and globally that was relevant to the response to the pandemic and helped establish its leadership in mental availability.

Dauphin gave beauty a whole new meaning to courage. Bringing people together around true heroes in a pandemic has been a huge boost to morale and provided a "collective purpose" that all of us desperately need right now. At the same time, Dove works with humanitarian organizations to directly provide funds, products and donations to the heroes working on the front lines, making a real impact on the world.

Brands have the ability and responsibility to provide help, hope and comfort to the public in times of crisis. Dove's actions to interpret "beauty" with the tired and even a little embarrassed faces of these medical workers in times of crisis, to praise and support these frontline heroes, isn't it a kind of courage? When a brand regards doing the right thing as its own responsibility, rather than for commercial interests, it can often find opportunities to expand the extension of its brand value and broaden the boundaries for the long-term growth of the brand.

Dove: How Dove found beauty in the time of COVID

Brand: Dove

Brand owner: Unilever Unilever

Main agency: Ogilvy London

Market launch: Worldwide

Case source: 2021 WARC Awards for Effectiveness, Bronze Award in the Brand Purpose category

👉🏻 WARC subscribers can click here to jump to read the full case

3. When the actual service cannot be provided, emotional resonance is also an effective connection point with consumers

As long as the brand has a clear plan and execution, it is often easy to solve problems and achieve success when the years are quiet and the world is stable. But if it is a special period, any action may be the ultimate stress test of the brand and its purpose, such as when you cannot provide products and services as usual to reach consumers.

The city blockade caused by the COVID-19 outbreak in the spring of 2020 has hit many brands and industries that depend on offline foot traffic, including public transportation. Brussels-based public transport company Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles (STIB) is no exception.

As the transportation market leader, STIB had ambitious growth targets. But the sudden Covid-19 lockdown and the media's portrayal of dangerous places have seen public transport use plummet: Leisure travel has disappeared, students can't go to school, and most people have stopped commuting to work from home.

Business at STIB plummeted by 80 per cent in a matter of weeks, followed by an influx of refund requests from long-term bookings. At this moment when it needs to "overcome the difficulties together", it is the main challenge to keep long-term subscribers who make up 62% of its revenue from giving up STIB and keep long-term subscribers from refunding their tickets.

STIB's brand purpose is to bring passengers where they want to go, to come together and to bring the city of Brussels to life. But at the height of the lockdown in March 2020, while they were still actively providing transport services to the frontline of essential safeguards such as medical staff and supermarket staff, it was also the time when people wanted to travel the most and were banned, how could a brand that provides mobility services To achieve such a goal? This is a difficult predicament.

STIB has insight into the love that Brussels people have for the city, and it is the love that STIB hopes to share with its passengers. They translated this insight into a community and branding approach that further strengthened STIB's bond with the city and formed a simple baseline message: "Brussels is for us all", emphasizing STIB's sensibility in its brand image aspect.

Combining digital, personal and personal experiences, STIB reframed its brand experience under this crisis, and materialized this baseline message, and the "Voice of Brussles" campaign came into being. STIB has launched a specially adapted tram that carries no passengers, but a heartwarming voice message from Brussels residents to their grandparents, family members, medical staff or other people who are missed, traversing the streets and broadcasting over loudspeakers to the recipient.

Mainly driven by PR and word of mouth, the campaign spent just over a budget of €60,000 including creative and media in two weeks through STIB's own assets (a converted bus) and its social media channels. Positive turnarounds in Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction, Social Media Sentiment and Engagement, Long-Term Subscriber Chargeback Reimbursement, and more.

Of course, having a clear sense of mission and purpose is necessary for brands, but more importantly, how to rely on them to lead the brand through the "darkest hour". Try to convey the emotional appeals that are closely related to consumers at the moment in the most impossible situation in a warm and appropriate tone, so as to help them and maintain emotional resonance. It’s also a desirable way for brands to bounce back in a crisis and regain consumer confidence.

Belgian bus company STIB: Voice of Brussels


Brand owner: Belgian government

Main agency: mortierbrigade, Brussels

Launched on the market: Belgium

Case source: 2021 WARC Awards for Effectiveness, Bronze Award in Customer Experience category

👉🏻WARC subscribers can click here to jump to read the full case

4. If a brand can focus on the overall enlargement of the pattern, sometimes it can often gain more

Wellcome, the world's leading soap brand today, was born more than a hundred years ago. At a time when infectious diseases were the number one cause of death, Weibao was on a mission to make cleanliness a common habit. Yet in the early days of the novel coronavirus, when the World Health Organization had not declared it a global health emergency, the public took little notice of its seriousness.

As the situation escalated, people began to notice the virus. However, there are various speculations and suggestions circulating on the Internet and in the market, such as drinking, eating or wiping the body with disinfectant to disinfect. Weibao wants to provide the correct information to help people protect themselves against the new crown virus before it happens, to spread the information as quickly as possible to more regions and markets, and to help correct speculation and even harmful advice.

Further research, Weibo found that these speculative suggestions tend to spread farther and farther, such as hearsay from taxi drivers, local grocery stores, and information from online publishers and media outlets that want to increase their reading. . These speculative suggestions have more impact, and audiences are more likely to accept them because they come from people who don't sell them.

The strategic implication of this insight is this: If Weibo wants to effectively communicate a message about how people are safe from the virus, they need to drop their sales intent. Under this unprecedented epidemic situation, Weibao found that its original communication and marketing rules and methods may not be applicable, and must be "not advertising" and "not selling".

Wellcome opened with a wave of surprising opening remarks such as "This is not a Wellcome's own advertisement", and "use the nearest soap you can reach, not only the Wellcome brand, but also Dettol, Shufujia, Lux" Such a title has produced an unexpected publicity publicity, and at the same time, accompanied by a large amount of media investment, the campaign has attracted much attention.

Weibao further expands its influence through social videos, brand ambassadors, and celebrity advertisements to remind and advise the public to use soap, even if soap is not the brand of Weibao, supplemented by entertaining and easy-to-remember videos, hoping to help educate the public Remember to wash your hands the right way to protect your health.

Within 72 hours, Weibao launched a public welfare campaign "Use Any Soap" in more than 17 countries around the world. And invested all of its annual advertising budget to ensure maximum reach and maximum impact so that audiences understand how vital and serious this message is.

The campaign eventually managed to reach more than 1 billion households around the world, while also gaining endorsements and accolades from a wide range of industry leading brands, including key competitors, as well as a ripple effect of word of mouth outside of paid media. Johnson & Johnson called the campaign a "great move."

There's nothing quite like a soap brand doing branding and product promotion during a pandemic. However, Wei Bao did not just stare at the interests of the one acre of land in front of him, but chose to take a step back. Upstream from the bottom of the funnel of the consumer journey, play the role of category guardian and expert to carry out public welfare promotion.

And this path, in turn, has achieved sales and brand growth for the brand. It can be seen that sometimes only when the brand jumps out, enlarges the pattern, and focuses on the overall picture and vision, it is possible to find a broader sky from the perspective of the entire category industry and even the well-being of all mankind, and strive for a longer-term growth path for the brand. .

Weibo: Use any soap

Brand: Lifebuoy

Brand owner: Unilever

Main agency: MullenLowe Lintas Group India, MullenLowe Singapore

Market launch: Asia

Case source: Bronze Award, WARC Awards for Asian Strategy 2021

👉🏻WARC subscribers can click here to jump to read the full case

About the WARC Application Library

WARC has the world's largest database of effective marketing case studies: a large number of excellent cases from 125 countries covering 19 major categories. Over the decades, the WARC case library has accumulated 21,000 award-winning cases and cross-cutting proposals, including practical methods, evidence of results and empirical insights. In addition to WARC's own awards and competitions, the sources included are from 30 globally authoritative and well-known award organizations in the industry, such as Cannes Lions, Effies, New York AME Awards, MMA Smarties, Shanghai International Advertising Festival (SHIAF), etc. WARC members who need strategic motivation and inspiration for pitching can use the "case finding" tool on the WARC official website at any time to search tens of thousands of items according to parameters such as industry, market, target, media channel, target audience, and budget amount, which will continue throughout the year. Updated award-winning cases to learn from and inspire.