Brands have the ability, and perhaps obligation, to be a positive influence in the world. Never is this more true than in times of crisis. Advertising professionals can put their creativity, agility, and communication expertise to positive use.
Students were asked to conceptualize a positive initiative, for a brand of their choice, in the time of the Coronavirus pandemic. A positive crisis initiative focuses first on solutions, not selling. It might protect employees or consumers, produce products that can help, partner with relief agencies to fill the gaps, use brand power to educate and serve as an information source, or bring people together (figuratively, of course!)
We began each class of the segment with a discussion of one brand’s recent consumer-facing communications. Additionally, students wrote posts on a discussion board dedicated to analyzing timely brand responses. The on-going discussion helped students think critically about their own projects.
“My motivation for the project was the xenophobic treatment of the Asian community. As both an Asian American and Chinese adoptee, I experience the xenophobia personally. Panda Express is in a position to help shift perception.”
“Creating an advertisement in the midst of a health crisis seems off putting, but what I loved about this assignment was that Professor Mueller handled it with sensitivity and emphasized that it’s important to use brand power to educate, protect, and bring people together. One of the practices taught was to focus on solving, instead of selling.”