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The Top 15 Most Inspiring Lockdown Campaigns

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The best campaigns made during the COVID-19 outbreak

No matter how crippling of a blow it receives, the creative industry will always be ready to stand back up and prove its resilience. Even earlier in the year, with the world preparing to shut down, several agencies started focusing on uplifting and hopeful stories, eventually giving birth to the best lockdown campaigns so far.

Several months have gone by and, while some sectors are still struggling to recover, dozens of beautiful pieces of creative work have already been released during the coronavirus outbreak. So what are the best lockdown marketing campaigns?

The 15 best campaigns on the coronavirus lockdown

With the UK entering a second lockdown this week and the rest of Europe busy tackling the second wave, it is normal to feel quite uninspired these days. If you are struggling to stay inspired in lockdown, we hope the list below will give you enough material to kickstart your creative juices and help you push through your next roadblock.

Here are the top 15 lockdown campaigns we have found in the Creativepool community.

1. Locked Down and Out - The Gate London for the LGBT Foundation

The LGBT Foundation has reported huge spikes in calls to their crisis helpline since lockdown started. In this beautiful yet heartbreaking campaign by The Gate London, named Locked Down and Out, the agency has shown on screen the story of a young trans girl who is caught wearing make-up by her intolerant mother.

2. The Lockdown - Engine for Women’s Aid

Domestic abuse helplines have also experienced significant call spikes. With the nation in lockdown, domestic abusers are no longer walking among us. This chilling campaign, named ‘The Lockdown,’ was created pro bono by ENGINE Creative and production company Knucklehead, and it shows the empty streets and public spaces throughout the UK.

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3. Courage Is Beautiful - Ogilvy Canada for Dove

As a tribute to front-line carers during COVID, Ogilvy Canada has crafted Courage is Beautiful. It was a social, TV, OOH, print and influencer marketing campaign focusing on the marks left on the carers’ skin by their heavy protection equipment. With 99% positive sentiment in 14 countries, the initiative is widely recognised as one of the absolute top lockdown campaigns.

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4. #ListeningFromHome - MRM for the No More Foundation

You don’t need a huge budget, if your idea is strong or powerful enough. That’s the case of the #ListeningFromHome campaign by MRM London, who teamed up with the No More Foundation and the National Domestic Violence Hotline to encourage victims and neighbours to report cases of domestic abuse during COVID.

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5. Stay in and #ComeOutForLGBT - Mr. President for Stonewall

In the occasion of Pride Week, Stonewall wished to raise awareness of the struggles faced by the LGBT community during the pandemic. Unfortunately marching on the streets wasn’t an option, so Mr. President took over the UK’s biggest screen in Piccadilly Circus with its Stay in and #ComeOutForLGBT campaign.

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6. Save Generation COVID - Impero for Unicef

War, hunger, poverty and lack of sanitation among children in need have been exacerbated as a consequence of coronavirus. Save Generation Covid is an emergency appeal by Unicef and Impero, encouraging people to take action and stand up for ‘Generation Covid.’

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7. Stay Home Heroes - Iris for HEROES

Ordinary people, flatmates and partners following the social distancing rules are the heroes of today, helping protect healthcare workers by staying home. Iris has partnered with the charity HEROES for the #StayHomeHeroes campaign, championing the stories and individuals who helped us all stay safe during lockdown.

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8. Kindness Will Keep Us Together - VCCP for the British Red Cross

Though we may be apart, Kindness Will Keep Us Together. The British Red Cross has partnered with VCCP to reassure the public with this striking integrated lockdown campaign, driving donations for the Red Cross and employing graphic designs from 11 artists across the UK.

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9. Return to Sport - Goldstein for Adidas

Some industries have been halted by the COVID-19 outbreak, including live events and sports. Building up anticipation and hope for the return of sports, Goldstein has created Return to Sport for Adidas in New Zealand, which was the one of the first western countries to lift strict lockdown measures.

10. The Living Room Cup - AKQA for Nike

From one of Adidas’ main competitors, Nike, comes another hopeful lockdown campaign by AKQA. Named the Living Room Cup, the initiative involved a series for training challenges for the public and professional athletes, all to be carried out from the comfort of their homes.

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11. infect.love - Über Agency

While not strictly a campaign for a client, Über Agency’s infect.love was still one of the top initiatives made during lockdown. The online portal was conceived to spread some much needed love, thanks, hope and positivity during the COVID-19 crisis, and it brought together creatives from all around the world.

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12. The Art of Outdoor - Ocean Outdoor for Various Clients

We’ve seen above a few examples of OOH campaigns even during lockdown, including the stunning Stonewall campaign on Piccadilly. Over the past nine months, Ocean Outdoor has worked with various clients to deliver faith in the healthcare system, lifting spirits all around the UK with positivity and hope. Here are some examples of their Art of Outdoor:

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13. Protecting the Nation - Goldstein for Carex

It’s quite curious to stop and think that some needed a pandemic to start washing their hands properly – and yet, here we are. With good hygiene making a significant comeback in 2020, some brands like Carex were in a particularly well-placed position to promote good hand-washing practices. And that’s exactly what Protecting the Nation by Goldstein did.

14. Requiem for a Pie - M&C Saatchi Australia for TAB

As government contact tracing apps made their live appearance all around the world, it was clear that the use of these tools would mean a quicker and smoother return to normal. In the Requiem for a Pie campaign by M&C Saatchi Australia, the TAB gambling group placed a QR code to download the app… on a meat pie, usually eaten at the footy.

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15. XCover Pro Campaign - Juice for Samsung

While not technically a campaign about the lockdown, Juice’s campaign still demonstrates the resilience and mastery of the agency when forced to adapt to a new normal. With production halted by lockdown restrictions, Samsung and Juice had no choice but to resort to a full CG spot for the Xcover Pro, replacing the brand’s previous actor-centric campaigns. 

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The best lockdown campaigns

It is increasingly clear that the world and the industry are looking for positivity right now. The best campaigns made during Covid-19 restrictions are the ones that decide to keep hopeful, positive and maintain an eager eye on the future, while occasionally educating and raising awareness of the best practices to fight the virus.

There are way more lockdown marketing campaigns that we could include in this piece, and we'll certainly see more as the year draws to a close – especially considering that Christmas is literally around the corner. But what has been done by global and local agencies so far already carries a quite strong message: that the creative industries will never stop spreading positivity, even in the most challenging of times.

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