“COVID-19 PR Campaigns, One Year Later” By Olivia Strauss

"We'll get through this together"

COVID-19 has completely changed the way public relations professionals approach creative campaigns. Companies have had to find new ways to brand themselves in a time of social distancing, mask-wearing and hand sanitizing. Let’s take a look at some of the campaigns companies have done this past year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple, Creativity Goes On

Many companies chose to stay hopeful during this challenging time, and Apple is no exception. Apple put out their Creativity Goes On campaign on April 11, 2020, generating over four million views on YouTube. In a time when people are told to not socialize and to social distance, the power of digital technology has never been so apparent. Apple inspired the world to power through and keep creating by showing us that their products allow people to connect and continue to grow. In addition to the campaign, Apple updated Siri to inform users on COVID-19 while also building an app to offer up-to-date CDC guidelines.

Ohio Department of Health, Flatten the Curve

In an effort to reach the general public, the Ohio Department of Health released an animated short film to display how easily the COVID-19 virus spreads. The short shows a ball dropped onto a floor full of traps. When the traps are close together, it causes a chain-reaction, but when they are apart, the ball misses the traps and is able to move freely. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the Ohio Department of Health used this to their advantage to prove how social distancing works in an effort to get Ohioans to stay home.

Nike, Play for the World

Another campaign released in April 2020 was Nike’s Play for the World campaign. Nike launched this campaign with their Tweet, “Now more than ever, we are one team. #playinside #playfortheworld.” This campaign was endorsed by many of Nike’s athletes like Lebron James and Michael Jordan to inspire athletes to stay active at home with an on-brand content library that could be accessed at home. The campaign was accompanied by a generous $15 million donation to the COVID-19 relief fund as well as promised paid time-off for their workers who were unable to work at their retail stores.

Getty Museum, Getty Museum Challenge

The Getty Museum used social media to challenge the public to recreate famous artworks from the comfort of their own home. The campaign allowed for a distraction from the COVID-19 pandemic news flood that took over social media feeds. This allowed Getty Museum to bring a new, positive brand personality to the table and bring some joy into the homes of the public.

Budweiser, Checking in that’s Whassup

In April 2020, Budweiser released an updated take on their old, iconic “Whassup” ad. The advertisement encourages viewers to check up on their friends in quarantine, while having a Bud, of course. The advertisement offered a refreshing and relevant take on their old advertisement which already focused on bringing people together.

What’s the big deal?

The COVID-19 pandemic allowed brands to send a message without deviating from their brand style. Brands focused on the people, rather than the profit, encouraging the public to communicate, start conversation and stay safe. By understanding the power of digital technology and social media, brands have been able to grow their audience by joining together towards a common goal during this challenging time. PR professionals must continue to learn how to adapt and adjust to new environments like this in order to grow their brand. By understanding what’s important, relevant and appropriate, companies found ways to excel during a questionable time


Olivia Strauss is a sophomore studying journalism, strategic communication and is the 2021-22 VP of Social Affairs-elect for Scripps PRSSA. Follow her on Twitter here.

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