In a pandemic such as the one which we are witnessing currently, it becomes the responsibility of brands to raise awareness and promote messages which can save millions of lives. Gurjant Pannu writes about brands that have taken the initiative to drive home the social distancing message.

The coronavirus outbreak has paralysed the world and unprecedented lockdowns are being imposed all over cities and towns. As governments are convincing citizens to stay at home and practice social distancing, brands could play an active role in encouraging such steps by reaching out to millions of followers.

A campaign by Nike with the tagline, “If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance. Play inside, play for the world”, has highlighted the responsible role brands can play in such testing times.

McDonald’s split their iconic logo ‘M’ and separated the two arches on their social media handles to promote social distancing.

German automobile manufacturer Audi which has one of the most recognised logos—‘the four rings’ – also sent out a message on social distancing by posting a video which shows the four rings separating with the message “Keep distance and stay together”.

The caption tells people to, “Stay at home, keep your distance, stay healthy, support each other – we are in this together.”

Coca-Cola also used its billboard in Times Square, New York, to send out a message on social distancing to stop the spread of Covid-19.

People walking in the heart of Manhattan will see Coke’s name with extended spaces between the letters with the message “Staying apart is the best way to stay united”.

While brands try their best to send out a positive message in such trying times, sometimes it backfires and creates a negative impact.

ASOS, a British online fashion and cosmetic retailer, launched its series of face masks in August 2019.

While it was being mocked for its designs which were promoted at the time of the launch on Twitter as “Festival season/flu season/dealing with close-talkers, meet your fave new year-round piece”, with the coronavirus outbreak and a lot of misinformation regarding face masks, the company had to pull them off the market after facing a lot of backlash.

So as the battle against coronavirus rages on, brands too have an important job of raising their social media game to promote such messages apart from donating to hospitals and looking after the wellbeing of their employees. Will they go the distance?



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