Skip to main content

Everybody’s talking. Few are resonating.

By June 23rd, 2020No Comments

Every single piece of communication we receive these days is COVID-19 related. Everybody has something to share – whether it’s an email from your favorite retailer on how they’ve improved their cleaning and security process or a Facebook post from a restaurant with a new take and bake meal kit. Although it seems like everybody is feeling compelled to get messages out, few are actually doing a good job of communicating to their audience in a meaningful way.

In my opinion, the car industry has collectively made bad decisions on how to market during this crisis. They are desperately trying to convey they’re here to help, but at the hefty expense of a car purchase. This video parody sums it all up brilliantly.

Hy-Vee ran a questionable “Hero” commercial comparing front line emergency workers (medical, police and fire responders) to truck drivers and store employees. Granted, grocery store employees should be recognized for their contributions, but the uplifting music and overall tone didn’t resonate with everyone.

And it appears that every marketer is using the same playbook for ad development. This mash-up video perfectly illustrates the wide variety of ads using somber piano music, similar copy, tone and family sentiments. It’s hard to market during a pandemic and you don’t want to make a mistake that could cost you customers. But it’s also important to be authentic.

On the other hand, I’ve encountered two businesses which I think are doing an exceptional job. With two very different approaches,

  • Delta: As a major airline, they’ve obviously been one of the hardest hit industries globally. But from the very beginning, their messaging has been one of compassion and understanding. As a travel fanatic, the “messages from Ed” are resonating with me on many levels. Not only do they understand we can’t fly, but they want us to know they’re working hard to make sure it will be safe when we do. Here’s an excerpt from one of the many emails from Delta in recent weeks exemplifying their on-point messaging:“I personally extend my heartfelt gratitude to you for booking your upcoming trip and for trusting Delta to safely connect you to the most important places and people in your life. 

    It is a privilege to serve you, which is why I want to make you aware of additional steps we’re taking to care for you and your loved ones so you are prepared for your travels. While many of these changes are temporary, our commitment to your safety and well-being will always remain.”
  • My Burger: Spinning the dial a complete 180 degrees from Delta, we land on My Burger – a local MN fast food burger joint. Their emails are hysterical – from the most recent “Ode to Sweatpants” to an earlier communication including diary entries from their pandemic journal. They’re irreverent and laugh-out-loud funny – and who couldn’t use some of that in their life right now? Here’s an excerpt showcasing their wit.Good Heavens! What next?

    Murder Hornets? Now there are *!@&ing Murder Hornets?!?!?

    Do you get the feeling that someone is just randomly Googling the most terrifying word combinations they can think of and then POOF, they manifest in the universe somehow? So what’s next? Paper Cut Tornadoes? Alien Invasion Clowns?…

    …Well, here at My Burger, we figured it couldn’t hurt to try the opposite…Here goes: Rainbow Kittens. Cheeseburger Naps*. Finding Unexpected Money in Your Pocket Balloons.

    *Cheeseburger Naps now available for delivery. Not recommended for take-out.

But it’s not all fun and games. BERT – the Burger Emergency Response Team –  takes their food truck to the front lines with donations for healthcare workers at local hospitals. Humor and heart – they’ve got it all.

What are you seeing in your inbox that’s either got you laughing or shaking your head in dismay? As marketers, we love to hear about the good, the bad AND the ugly. Please share.


Carol Wahl

Author Carol Wahl

Carol is a senior account executive at d.trio.

More posts by Carol Wahl

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.