As the global epidemic situation has gradually eased in recent months, many countries have successively announced the cancellation of prevention and control missed or reduced prevention and control restrictions, and social productivity and life have gradually returned to normal. China's epidemic prevention and control situation has also stabilized as a whole. Even in Shanghai, where the epidemic is the most strictly controlled, the number of new infections per day has continued to decline recently, and the number of companies returning to work has continued to expand.

As the epidemic gradually becomes clear, the consumer demand in the post-epidemic stage will be further released. As the global consumption scene shifts from offline to online, how can brands grasp the changes in consumers' living habits and mentality? How can the marketing plan after pressing the "pause button" due to the epidemic get back on track? In the process of economic recovery and market recovery, how to stimulate brand growth?

We have compiled excellent cases from various industries and categories in different markets around the world in the WARC think tank, and interpreted the cases from multiple perspectives through the "Case Dry Goods" series, aiming to bring lessons to practitioners. This issue is the third issue, starting from 4 cases of Burger King, McDonald's, Bose and Sky:

  1. When unemployment and wage cuts are on the rise, empathy with consumers requires lip service
  2. Extract original insights from life scenarios in special times, and respond to consumers' calls
  3. Accurately target the pain points of consumers at home, and use technology and digital experience to boost the consumption journey
  4. Strengthening brand relevance from cultural background

When unemployment and wage cuts are on the rise, empathy with consumers requires lip service

The post-coronavirus lockdown has made food delivery the main channel for Burger King in the UAE. But because most of its sales are made through aggregation apps such as Deliveroo and Talabat, Burger King has 30% of its revenue to share with such apps. In the fast food category of this type of app, it is often necessary to face the competition of leading brands and their consumers' attention. This made Burger King's sales targets even more difficult.

To stand out, the brand must first break free from this situation. Burger King's marketing goal is to drive these people who use the aggregation app to order food to download and use Burger King's own app. Eliminate competition from the root, and fertilizers will not flow to outsiders. Make Burger King's own app the first choice for consumers to order food. In addition, brands want to build stronger connections with their audiences by showing empathy and a people-centric approach.

A new crown epidemic has made many brands more clear about the importance of digitalization, and the ability to develop business digitalization has become the decisive factor in this competition. Burger King released its own app in the United Arab Emirates. In addition to facing the continuous crushing of aggregated apps that occupy a large amount of ordering demand, it also faces the siege and blocking of heavy investment and construction of online channels by all other fast food brands.

In addition, during the epidemic, nearly 8 out of 10 companies in the UAE have temporarily cut wages, and everyone is reducing employee wages to cope with the economic downturn. This, in turn, has led many people to be cautious about their consumption, and it is more common than ever for people to order takeout. Burger King UAE has decided to change the game. Turn its competitive advantage into a new brand purpose.

Instead of pushing products but pushing positions and empathizing with the people, Burger King in the United Arab Emirates launched the "Pay Cut Whopper" campaign, turning the typical "download app to get discount code" model application into an audience-led medium. Consumers simply download the app, add their own pay cut percentage and longer hours, and immediately enjoy the equivalent discount. Free choice of discount and term capped at 30% and three months respectively.

The "Wage Reduction Whopper" actually gives support to those who are financially constrained, giving them the right to receive equal discounts according to the salary reduction rate, so that everyone "gets what they need". The campaign finally successfully reached more than 22 million people, achieved a 30% increase in sales over the previous year, exceeded 250,000 downloads, and moved its app’s rankings from 28th and 68th on Google and Apple Stores. ahead of the top 3 and 4.

Brands are afraid that the topic of salary reduction will become a stumbling block in the consumer journey, affecting the enthusiasm of consumption, and they do not want consumers to have any negative association with the purchase situation or even the brand itself. When more than half of the population is facing pay cuts and is shunned by various consumer brands, the topic is the "elephant in the room". In fact, keeping silent about the problem does not help solve the problem. Burger King, who is stubborn, bravely chose this seemingly sensitive entry point.

By talking about the topic without shyness and taking the initiative to share consumers' financial stress and anxiety, Burger King humanized the moment of the transaction, made the brand human, and reaped growth in business metrics. It can be seen that the challenges brought by a financial recession period to consumers can also be the marketing opportunities for brands. Brands not only need to demonstrate to their audiences that they understand and empathize with consumers' difficulties, but also need to put their brand purpose into action.

Burger King: Pay Cut Whopper

Brand: Burger King

Brand owner: Restaurant Brands International

Main Agency: Wunderman Thompson Dubai

Contributing agency: Asteroide Filmes, MediaCom, Canja do Bigode

Market: UAE

Case source: 2021 WARC Prize for MENA Strategy, Silver Award

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Extract original insights from life scenarios in special times, and respond to consumers' calls

In February 2020, the catering industry as a whole was hit hard by the epidemic. Although McDonald's was the first to resume work and insist on guaranteeing supply, and was also one of the first brands to launch contactless meal pickup and delivery, consumer activity was still sluggish. The number of stores has also experienced a cliff-like decline. Even in the new normal of epidemic prevention and control, industry revival is still difficult.

As a fast food brand, it has always been committed to bringing simple joy to consumers through high-quality food. When the whole country fights against the epidemic, how can we maintain a good tonality and also deliver this happiness to consumers? How to deal with the downturn in consumer purchases during the epidemic blockade, and how to arouse more people's desire and recognition for products without excessively "marketing the epidemic" and causing disgust are the main challenges faced by McDonald's.

At the peak of the epidemic, McDonald's noticed the change in consumers' lifestyles of home isolation and self-cooking. Through social listening, they found that "fried chicken" ranked second in the list of foods consumers want to eat. As a result, McDonald's captures a key native insight of consumers in a unique situation: the desire for fried chicken. Instead of launching a brand communication topic, McDonald's believes that it is better to use this topic to make a timely feedback and "airborne" this unpretentious happiness to consumers.

The "Fried Chicken from the Sky" campaign was born. McDonald's and Weibo cooperated to set up the "fried chicken" keyword trigger mechanism, and sent fried chicken coupons through the official Weibo real-time comment message, which triggered the whole network to call for "want to eat fried chicken", and naturally fermented the topic heat, activating the original downturn consumption situation. At the same time, make full use of McDonald's own media to optimize the coupon collection mechanism, encourage consumers to share and forward coupons, further play a fission effect, and spread the desire for fried chicken.

The campaign achieved positive word of mouth and dissemination with a very small budget. Through a unique but extremely simple trigger mechanism, the desire for consumers can be said to be "answering every call", detonating social communication, and consumers' enthusiasm and actual purchasing activity have exceeded expectations. The magical operation of "Fried Chicken from Heaven" exploded 2.2 million coupons, driving the in-store customer traffic to increase by 339%, and the sales volume to increase by 157%, activating the originally sluggish consumption situation.

During the epidemic, most of the regular marketing has been suspended, and the brand is afraid that the presence of the brand may be criticized during the epidemic. Overly entertaining or self-aggrandizing marketing can be counterproductive, but inaction at all can also cost brands the opportunity to communicate. In this case, marketing pursues both heat and temperature. "Fried Chicken from Heaven" listened to the voices of consumers under the current situation, and based on the brand's mission, it has won positive word of mouth and fission broadcasts with four or two thousand pounds.

McDonald's: Heavenly Fried Chicken

Brand: McDonald's

Brand owner: Golden Arch China

Main agency: BBDO China

Market launch: Mainland China

Case source: 2020 WARC Prize for Chinese Strategy, Silver Award for Sharp Thinkers, Silver Award for Smart Budget Stewardship

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Accurately target the pain points of consumers at home, and use technology and digital experience to boost the consumption journey

The in-store experience has always been a differentiator for audiovisual technology brand Bose. Given its premium positioning amid fierce competition, the physical product experience and luxurious in-store service have been key selling factors for the brand. And those elements, which played a big role in the customer journey, lost their effectiveness in 2020: Bose was forced to close nearly 120 stores around the world, including in the Middle East, due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Bose needed a game-changing solution to keep consumer interest high, continue to demonstrate its differentiation, and ultimately restore sales through digital channels. Bose needed to find a way to connect it with consumers, and it needed to prove its worth more than ever. But in the context of the pandemic and during the economic crisis, how does Bose maintain the appeal of its high-end products during such challenging times?

In terms of products, Bose has always been regarded as a high-end high-quality product, which complements the high-quality display in the store. But the element of the in-store experience won’t help in the consumer journey during lockdown. Restrictions on product experience and the low relevance of products in the real life of consumers in the post-pandemic era have become the two main challenges to achieve this goal.

The economic recession triggered by the epidemic has made consumers more prudent in their consumption needs. Plus their work scene shifts from the office to the home. When working from home becomes the new normal, so do problems. Although the outdoors is no longer full of traffic, the interior of the home is full of all kinds of noises that make people unable to concentrate: pets chirping and dogs barking, children playing and noisy, decorations ping-pong-pong, pots and pans jingling.

Therefore, Bose focuses its strategy on helping target customers with solutions based on this new life situation: Bose's noise-cancelling headphones can effectively solve the noise problem of home office. Bose launches 'Noise-O-Meter' meter in the Middle East, no opportunistic marketing, but engages consumers with a fun tech experience, in a nutshell: the louder the noise in your home, our discount how big.

Consumers can analyze the noise data of the home environment through a very simple operation on the mobile website and instagram story of "Noise-O-Meter", and use Bose's unique sound decibel algorithm to directly convert it. Discounts on Bose noise-cancelling headphones on e-commerce. This creates a digital consumer journey touchpoint that makes it easy for people to make a seamless journey and experience from detecting noise, to generating discounts and redeeming offers.

In less than a month, the campaign garnered more than 7 million exposures, measured more than 7,000 home office noises, and converted more than 400,000 decibels into discounts. On top of that, average weekly online sales of Bose's 700 series of high-end noise-cancelling headphones rose 37.5%. Several retailers have expressed interest in adopting these touchpoints in other markets to improve the customer experience.

Under the normalization of the epidemic, consumers' living habits and ways have also quietly changed. People are also actively adapting to the consumption experience of the home scene in a passive environment, and the consumption scene has migrated from offline to online. Brands like Bose, which used to rely on traditional brick-and-mortar in-store experiences to interact with customers, can quickly harness the power of digital, social media and e-commerce to create unique consumer engagement experiences and capture growth opportunities that many face the same challenges. Where brands need to learn.

In the context of the new crown epidemic, product-centric "self-selling and boasting" sales will appear opportunistic and out of date. While high-end products may slip from consumers' priorities, there are opportunities for non-essential products to leapfrog into important necessary investments as reality changes and scenarios change. It can be seen that guiding consumers to explore the life challenges they face and providing solutions and core benefits is an effective way for brands to leverage business growth with value propositions.

Dr. Bose: Noise-o-Meter Noise Meter

Brand: Bose

Brand owner: Bose

Main Agency: Wunderman Thompson Dubai

Contributing agency: Vox Haus

Market: Middle East & North Africa

Case source: 2021 WARC Prize for MENA Strategy, Silver Award

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Strengthening brand relevance from cultural background

Sky has been a household name in digital pay TV in New Zealand for many years and at one point was one of New Zealand's most innovative and popular brands, proudly active on millions of screens in New Zealand homes and bars. But with the entry of affordable streaming content providers like Netflix and the loss of the 2019 Rugby World Cup rights, Sky has found it has become a challenger brand.

Ask yourself, without the Rugby World Cup and a dizzying array of cheap streaming content providers, do New Zealanders really need Sky? In the run-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the answers given by consumers "voting with their wallets" and Sky's NPS score at the bottom of the entertainment brands seem to be self-evident. Sky's business plummeted, losing 6.5 percent of its users.

Sky needs users to rethink and measure the brand, rebuild the love and make Sky Sports central and meaningful to New Zealanders' lives again. Sky wanted to create a platform that would allow Sky Sports to play a credible cultural role in Kiwi lives, with or without the game.

Sky is a brand rooted in pop culture that was once synonymous with New Zealand's sports culture and identity as a sports-mad Kiwi. Sky needs to connect not only with existing customers, but also a new generation of sports fans who are turning to streaming, a generation whose parents grew up with Sky but never felt a connection to the Sky brand themselves. connect.

Sky insight: The more exercise, the better off Kiwis are. When you're a sports fanatic, there are sports fields everywhere you go. For sports fans, it's not a craving or desire - exercise is a fundamental, biological, first-priority need in Maslow's hierarchy. The cultural norm in New Zealand is that it is one of the important pillars that supports people's external worldview.

From this perspective, Sky's brand platform "Life Needs More Sport" was born. Sky highlights how sport can transform everyday life for the better on an individual level, and on a collective level, showing how the transformative power of sport can make shared lives better for everyone.

By capturing moments or scenes in people's everyday life related to sport, whether it's basketball, rugby, golf or cricket. There are stadium-style seating benches in bus shelters in brand advertisements, babies swapped for rugby and football in family photos, naked babies running wild on iconic New Zealand summer beaches. Both are lighthearted, humorous and positive reminders of the importance of sports and the moments when people find a true sense of belonging in sports.

The outbreak of the new crown epidemic has dealt a heavy blow to the sports industry. Live sports competitions that could not be held as scheduled, the unpredictable return of future competitions, and the threat of cancellation of subscriptions, Sky did not interrupt brand communication, but produced new materials and increased their distribution to ensure that more New Zealand public Rest assured during this special time: Sky shares the fondness of sport with sports fans, looking forward to life returning to normal and looking forward to celebrating.

By repositioning its sports offerings in a humorous way, it has created an iterative and continuous communication platform that has successfully turned the tide and saved the NPS decline. Despite Covid-19 making it impossible for New Zealanders to have live sporting events, Sky managed to reduce churn by 20% compared to last year, increase user acquisition by 35% and the campaign was recognised as New Zealand's most popular ad of the year in 2019-20.

The success of this campaign lies in the power of culture: culture shapes strategy effortlessly, and a strategy derived from cultural truth trumps any category-based tactic. Helping the brand re-establish the role of its brand at the heart of New Zealand culture by uncovering and communicating all the cultural truths that are rooted in the minds of New Zealanders and universally agreed (life needs more movement).

Effectiveness is a long-term battle, and effective strategies and ideas need not only to stand the test of time, but also to evolve over time. Sky looks for refreshing and highly relevant ways to bring cultural truth to life with each update iteration of the brand's platform, rather than relying on execution to turn a stone into gold. This allows the brand to retain fresh perspectives and frequent communication opportunities, and also allows the audience to constantly generate new expectations.

Sky NZ: Life needs more sport

Brand: Sky

Brand owner: Comcast Corporation

Main Agency: DDB Aotearoa Auckland

Market: New Zealand

Case source: 2021 WARC Awards for Effectiveness (2021 WARC Awards for Effectiveness), Cooperation and Culture, Bronze Award

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