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How Brands Got Creative During Covid: The Surprising Marketing Ideas During the Pandemic

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Consumers are quick to forget about brands in crisis. However, if you have a strategy for handling the issue, your brand will have a better chance of surviving.

The COVID virus took over social media feeds and news headlines a year ago. And along with it, it brought some surprising marketing ideas that helped several brands reach their marketing goals.

Marketers have always tried to get their message in front of consumers. Meanwhile, the COVID virus presented an opportunity to create tailored messages that can reach consumers at their most vulnerable moments.

Here are some clever ideas for how brands made the most of their marketing efforts in this time of uncertainty and fear.


Starbucks is one of the pioneers of digital marketing. And they are not stopping!

Starbucks has successfully used its digital touchpoints, i.e. Starbucks Rewards program, to differentiate itself from competitors. The loyalty program rewards customers with a free drink or food item after they spend $150 in a 12-month period.

Also, Starbucks’ new mobile order and payment system was launched earlier this year. It went wildly successful as they saw improving customer experience through new technology.

2. FASHION BRANDS- Chanel, Marc Jacobs

Many people wondered how fashion brands could stay engaged with their customers. Brands like Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen got creative with their online presence and acted as entertainers for their followers.

From hosting musical performances to offering guided drawing sessions to creating Spotify playlists (over 2,400 people have subscribed to the #McQueenMusic playlist so far).

According to an email from Chanel, the live-streamed performance was “the first of its kind” and “other occasions for more collaborations of the kind might arise in the future”.

They engaged their followers by offering challenges that will get them to interact with their brand. In April, many brands were overrun with viral challenges on Instagram.

Throughout April, viral challenges filled Instagram.

By using these types of challenges, fashion brands can stay connected with customers and grow their online presence with creativity and interactivity.


ITC Aashirvad Atta is a leading producer of atta, a type of wheat flour. They have been in the market for over four decades and are now entering the digital market with their 'Atta' campaign.

In order to grow their market share in the Indian market, they created a new campaign that was so successful it broke all records for atta sales in India. In order to do so, they decided to leverage their most loved language of communication - visual stickers, gifs and emojis in WhatsApp and other chat messaging apps.

They wanted to position ITC Aashirvad Atta as the go-to Atta brand and drive association with Onam Festival and the messaging around it, i.e. chats and conversations around the wishes during Onam.

To do this, they created a chatbot that interacted with audience members in Malayalam using popular memes from WhatsApp chat groups. The bot responded with stickers, gifs or emojis depending on what was typed by audience members in response to the chatbot's message.

For example, a user who wrote "I'm starving" would be shown a sticker of a person eating food while one who said "happy Onam '' would get shown an emoji of an elephant carrying a pot of rice and water on its back.


Amazon sought to make itself more accessible by promoting its services on these apps and taking advantage of their popularity during lockdown days.

The goal was to boost awareness and brand recall. Using sticker campaigns with the new movie Cinderella on Amazon Prime among youth & adults. It leveraged their most loved language of communication - visual stickers, GIFs and emojis in WhatsApp and other chat messaging apps.

The campaign sought to position Cinderella as the go-to movie for youngsters to watch on weekends and drive association with ‘binge’, ‘movie’, etc keywords and the chats and conversations around such themes.


Gamezy is a digital gaming company that provides interactive and educational games for kids. They turned to lockdown marketing while creating a sense of urgency in customers by restricting sales to a limited time period, for the best results.

Gamezy leveraged the most loved language of communication—visual stickers, GIFs, and emojis in WhatsApp and other chat messaging apps.

These visual elements allowed them to position themselves as the go-to fantasy league app and drive association with "Play Fantasy Cricket Hatke" themes; themes we can see in chats and conversations like "Score kya hua."

Gamezy could capitalize on fantasy league "chatter," infusing content into daily conversation themes like "cricket," "sports," etc. They promoted their brand-focus campaign by promoting when their big events are coming up or when new games are released.


Be it expanding your customer base or a celebrity who needs to maintain their fan following, brands took the sudden change brought on by the pandemic headfirst and turned it into a great marketing tool.

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