Advertising Is Still Effective During a Crisis, If Not More…

Apple. The iconic 1.3 trillion dollar super-brand recognised in every walk of life. Their advertising style? Futuristic, inspiring. But, they barely need one. Apple phones, tablets and laptops will sell if there were no advertising at all. But, this April when COVID-19 was a real threat to the population on just about every continent, all of a sudden their advertising during a crisis wasn’t inventive, it wasn’t revolutionary and it didn’t make you feel like you were literally inside the TV.

The approach Apple took to market some of their creative resources was essentially a slideshow of home-filmed-videos with some emotional piano music in the background.

Why you ask, do so many companies turn to this stripped back version of advertising when it comes to strange and unfamiliar times, rather than carrying on as normal and promoting their new product with fancy special effects and heart-pounding music? Well, there’s just no need.

3 and a half million views later…

The promotional ad now on YouTube has gained over 3 and a half million views and features gentle piano music in the background while home-videos play over the top of a family enjoying a video call rather than dinner around a table, a young child dressed in her tutu in her room rather than in a ballet studio and even an appearance from Oprah, in her home it seems, rather than on set. It’s the type of advert which brings a tear to your eye if you’ve had a bad day and leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling we get when something just hits home.

When you truly think about it, many adverts, movies and music stick with you because you’ve related to it emotionally in one way or another. Therefore, when advertising during a crisis, you should try and do the same.

During a pandemic like COVID-19, customers aren’t in the emotional position for unique, thrilling marketing. People are already going through enough, financially and emotionally, and materialistic needs seem to dwindle away. Lockdown has made us appreciate the simpler things in life and people are drawn to a sense of normality.

So, when thinking about advertising and marketing for your business, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be completely new and innovative. Don’t panic. Be a voice of reason, familiarity, kin and most of all, comfort.

Apple found a way to touch 3 and a half million people’s hearts and still get their message across in the most stripped back way while providing a heartwarming sense of ‘we understand’ and if you can master that within your advertisements during a crisis, you’re on the road to success.
Aren’t humans just incredible?

Don’t sit in silence

Crisis’ arent generally the time to test out brand new, out-side-of-the-box marketing ideas if you don’t feel 100% comfortable doing so, or, if you’re a smaller independent business. Save experimenting for when times have settled down. Focus on creating a message to send out to customers and potential customers that you’re in the same position. You understand, bare the face behind the business. This vulnerability in a time like this will serve your brand well.

Now, we’ve heard the questions “but what if people take my message the wrong way and I damage my brand?” and, “I’d rather just stay silent until it’s all over because I can’t think of an effective campaign to run”. But, being silent in times of crisis will not benefit your brand. Don’t sit in silence. Although these thoughts and questions are reasonable, this type of apprehensive thinking will not benefit your business.

Not addressing the situation can be just as detrimental for sales than the actual crisis. You may lose momentum and loyal customers may be left wondering where you’ve gone amidst the chaos. Advertising during a crisis has the potential to be the most successful advertising you’ve ever done. A crisis gives you the chance to speak to your audience vulnerably and allows you to acknowledge the fact everyone is in the same boat. Because of this, it may turn out to be some of the most authentic marketing you’ve ever put out into the world.

Advertising during a crisis is important, you don't have to have the best ideas, just be vulnerable and a voice of familiarity.
Advertising during a crisis is important, you don’t have to have the best ideas, just be vulnerable and a voice of familiarity.

Ok. I understand. So where do I start?

First of all, it’s important to plan out what you’re advertising and promoting. Is it your brand as a whole? Is it certain products or services you offer? Pinpoint what you want to promote and create a POA (Plan Of Action).

Secondly, choose where you’re going to promote/advertise. Do you have a set budget? Or, Are you going to try and convert customers without spending a penny? These kinds of decisions should be made clear in the plan so you don’t run into any unexpected extra costs etc.

Then, address the situation. In times like these, the general public usually rushes to social media for answers and to form an opinion on particular circumstances. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will be used as sources of information people will take and share information on, therefore, to advertise on social media channels you’re placing your brand and business directly in the middle of word of mouth.

For advertising with a budget, use platforms such as Facebook ads or radio advertisements. Visit the AdEspresso website to find out, step-by-step, how to set up your very own Facebook Ad Campaign. Did you know, radio advertising is 20% more effective at building brands than other mediums? Find out more on Hatched London.

For advertising without spending a penny, try building your presence on social media. Or, try the Free Plan on Snizl. Snizl allows you to post your business product/service to over 200,000 users at absolutely no cost. You could take it a step further and become a trusted source of information via some carefully tailored social media or promotion posts.

Providing information of value that can truly help, will benefit your brand and turn your product or service into a necessity rather than a luxury at this uncertain time, with followers coming back because they now rely on you for this trusted information.


  • Important news updates listed on social media.
  • Reposting news outlets posts.
  • Having a newsletter via email.
  • Having a section on your website dedicated to COVID-19 updates.

These updates will serve as a way of increasing traffic to your website.

Still not sure how to tackle advertising during a crisis?

If even after these points you can’t think of how to advertise your business, for whatever reason, that’s ok too. During a crisis, as an independent business owner, advertising and marketing your product may seem just too overwhelming. So, utilise the time you’ve got free.

Brush up existing business plans. Get those accounts sorted. Refresh and renew marketing ideas for when some sort of normality returns. Get a friend or family member to help you take some up-to-date pictures for your website or social media accounts. Think about how to make sustainable choices for your business and explain the changes you’re making and why to your followers and customers. And, more importantly, support your staff at all times.

Post something small on social media letting your customers know you’re taking the time to shut up shop and focus on providing the best service to your customers once its all over.


Need more information on how to run your business during COVID-19? Read the COVID-19 Business Survival Plan.

Any questions? Feel free to email us at [email protected] and we’ll try our very best to dive in deeper regarding any points made and help you through this challenging time.

One reply on “Advertising Is Still Effective During a Crisis, If Not More…”

This is incredibly insightful and great Advice. Im looking forward to reaching out to you someday.

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