With most countries still in lockdown and wondering when life will slowly get back to normal, thoughtful and focused messages on how a brand can serve people’s immediate needs and wellbeing are needed more than ever.

With the added responsibility of effective messaging in a time of crisis, brands and agencies have a distinct challenge as they cannot produce ads in a traditional manner.  Many experiential campaigns or projects that require extensive filming and real life interaction are now impossible to organise, making delivery of high quality content harder than ever.

Many brands and agencies are turning to licensing to fulfil their messaging needs.  Existing footage and photos from current TV content or iconic archived moments remain available to construct assets in an edit.  A creative idea doesn’t have to be limited by a perceived lack of interesting content.  Movie studios and content libraries are more open than ever, permitting their IP use that can elevate a brand concept.

Budweiser released a very moving advert to address their support during the Coronavirus crisis.   The Budweiser advert was created in less than a week, thanks to the over-the-clock work of several staffers placed around the globe, from Buenos Aires to Spain. The shots were all handled by a professional photo service, but they were all authentic and reflecting of activities happening during the pandemic. If there was more time, the agency might have also solicited bespoke user-generated content.

Barilla, the popular Italian pasta brand, released an advert, using the voice of Sophia Loren, providing comfort and iconic celebrity in. Barilla and their agency Publicis Italy, stroke a cord with Italians everywhere, releasing an advert in a tribute to “Resilient Italy”. The powerful message is delivered via the iconic Barilla tune by Vangelis, and the well-known voice of Sophia Loren (who, in complete support of Barilla, had participated pro-bono). Most of the footage has been sourced via photo libraries and current stock footage, with some scenes filmed inside Barilla’s factory with special permission.

Tesco recently celebrated 100 years in business with a campaign by leveraging classic British characters to celebrate it’s 100-year heritage in the U.K.  Tesco brought back household names such as Mr.Blobby, Anneka Rice, Mr. Motivator, Morph& Chas, Danger Mouse and Des Lynam to parade through their store, highlighting low prices.  The campaign was extremely effective with brand recall up 73% after the campaign aired. 

In times of uncertainty, turning our focus to aspirational, nostalgic and well-known personalities and characters communicates a shared cultural reference.  Of course, care needs to be taken to ensure a brand uses such content effectively and it aligns with the overall tone and objectives. But if authenticity is achieved, licensed content allows brands to reach out to audiences in a powerful way.   

Licensing footage, music, voice, and character remains an expedient, cost-effective, and, most-importantly, remote way to put together an advertisement.  More and more brands are turning to content libraries to build distributed campaigns right from creatives own homes. 

If you need assistance on building your next remote ad, please reach out to our rights clearance experts to give your creative vision the green light.  We’re just an email away.