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Optimistic Ad Campaigns Collide With Rise in Covid-19 Cases

Ad campaigns celebrating life after the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic are contrasting with rebounding infections and renewed restrictions.

8/4/2021 7:00:00 AM

Ad campaigns celebrating life after the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic are contrasting with rebounding infections, the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant and renewed restrictions designed to fight the virus

Ad campaigns celebrating life after the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic are contrasting with rebounding infections and renewed restrictions.

Aug. 3, 2021 5:53 pm ETAd campaigns celebrating life after the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic are contrasting with rebounding infections, the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant and renewed restrictions designed to fight the virus.Uber Technologies

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Inc.has been running a commercial during coverage of the Tokyo Olympics, for example, that shows a quinceañera finally taking place after a year’s delay. “Go anywhere,” the ad says. “Go get it.”A Google ad also airing during Olympics coverage shows people searching for information on how to start at a new school, how to start dating again and how to start over. “Start again,” it says.

Google’s commercialGoogle said the ad was based on real-life searches. On Monday, however, many users were also searching for news about the positive Covid-19 test result for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), according to Google’s trending searches charts. headtopics.com

The new rise in cases means marketers should re-evaluate and likely pause the most optimistic campaigns, said Susan Credle, global chief creative officer of ad agency FCB, part of theCos. “I don’t think anybody made a mistake,” she said. “I just think the world did not go the direction we thought it would and that requires all of us to be ready to adjust.”

Uber and Google said they plan to continue their current ads.“With the new surge in Covid cases, we feel it’s more important than ever to continue showing up and reflecting optimism about what a post-pandemic world can look like,” Thomas Ranese, vice president of global marketing at Uber, said in a statement.

Uber plans to extend the “Go Get It” campaign in social media after the Olympics, with an emphasis on safety, a spokeswoman added. The company will continue to adapt its messaging to the moment, she said.Newsletter Sign-upCMO Today delivers the most important news of the day for media and marketing professionals.

PREVIEWSUBSCRIBEGoogle works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organizations to make sure the company’s ads don’t send mixed signals or misrepresent the situation, said Marvin Chow, vice president of global marketing at the company, a unit of headtopics.com

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Inc.The current commercial reflects people’s searches as the pandemic continues and changes, Mr. Chow said.“People are starting new jobs, asking questions about how to return to the office, doing searches on road trips,” he said. “There’s a safe and responsible way to do these things and part of our role as an information company is to get you that information.”

Read more: The Wall Street Journal »

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