The new normal in brand marketing, or a short-lived trend?

With the advent of pubs re-opening there is a feeling of relief as we approach a time of relative normality. With this, there has been a number of community focused brand campaigns that mark this event and capture the spirit of the moment.

As the Pandemic lockdown is slowly being lifted, we are seeing an emerging community-lead movement being adopted by big brands. Campaigns promoting charitable donations, pledges to reach sizeable monetary targets and a general ‘let’s help each other’ vibe is the trending marketing solution – but is this the beginnings of a new mindset in the world, or a quick-fire response to capturing customer spend?

We take a look at some of the campaigns currently being run by some of the biggest players in the marketplace.

Stella Artois

‘Reassuringly Expensive’ campaign.

Celebrating the reopening of pubs this week, Stella Artois has announced they have decided to revisit their nostalgic strap line that the brand sported back in the late eighties. Utilising a campaign that focuses on supporting staff within the hospitality sector, one of the hardest hit industries by the Covid restrictions.

The ‘Stella Tips’ Campaign is pledging £1 for every pint of Stella sold between 12th April to 9th May, donating up to £500,000. This fund is expected to benefit more than 12,000 hospitality staff in participating pubs, with staff receiving up to an additional £42 in tips.

This is the latest in a surge of brands revisiting previous brand slogans to instil brand loyalty and repositioning themselves – especially as current slogans might not have the same appropriateness post-COVID times.

It’s a clever approach as we are all undoubtedly thinking back to better times, particularly pre-COVID, to help booster spirits and bring positivity to our future aspirations.


‘Pop to your local if you can’ campaign.

Along the theme of the pubs reopening, Tesco has run a print campaign in national newspapers mimicking the goodwill gesture campaign that Burger King ran last year – when it urged its patrons to shop more diversely at other establishments.

Tesco has recognised that the hospitality sector has been one of the hardest affected with over 2,000 pubs permanently having reached closing time, and so have urged its customers to support pubs.

Tesco has faired the pandemic relatively unscathed, and this empathetic gesture will ultimately build on their already great customer loyalty. This super simple Ad utilises their iconic strap line, but modified, to read ‘because right now every little helps’ which is truer than ever.


‘The Little Moments’ campaign.

Building on the success of the ‘We are family’ campaign from 2017 that provides a positive and inclusive message, reflecting and questioning our notion of what a family looks like.

In this latest campaign, McCain is helping raise awareness of the leading childhood disability charity ‘Family Fund’. The adverts key message is that the brands partnership is providing families with the ability to focus on what’s important, and to enjoy the little moments more.

McCain is once again really pushing its family-orientated brand, and this latest instalment fits perfectly with the brand’s ethos / perception.

McCain has pledged to donate £1m to Family Fund, helping support more than 150,000 families with disabled or seriously ill children. Helping these families ease the strain by allowing them to be able to buy essential items and spend more precious time together at meal-times.

Alongside the TV advert, McCain has also run a limited-edition packaging for their home chips brand, which contains artwork from a child affected by autism and a brain injury.

Our thoughts

A common feature of all these brand campaigns is that they mark a general tone of voice that has manifested through the pandemic. It seems the struggles of the pandemic has pushed brands to become more community-focused and empathetic.

But is this more selfless and conscientious approach just a sign of the times and a short-lived trend, or is it a change in the tide and something we will see become more integrated into brands (and less of a marketing tool only)?

Time will tell, in the meantime, let’s just raise our glasses to better times ahead – and hope for a permanent shift in mindsets.