The announcement that Auckland was returning to Level 3 after coronavirus had re-emerged in the community seemed to take New Zealanders by surprise.
Radar showed a steep rise in fear and drop in optimism across the country. Suddenly Aucklanders had to regroup and adjust to life in Level 3 – no childcare, working from home, figuring out facemasks. This applied to brands, too. After a luxurious (by global standards) period in the “new normal”, we were suddenly thrust back into the world of lockdown. Quick: Back in your bubbles!
Kiwis responded positively to brands that immediately went into a helpful, supportive and hopeful space. This could have been because their brand tends to live in that space, like Lotto or Air New Zealand, because they had put in the work in to be in that space, like Mitre 10, via their “Helping Hands” community engagement campaign, or simply because they make us feel good, like Whittaker’s.
It’s reflected in the Stoppress Scoreboard: Air New Zealand, a brand that consistently nailed their tone during the crisis kept the number one spot, while McDonald’s and Mitre 10 simply swapped second and third places (we’ve talked about their stellar social in a crisis in previous articles)
The movers and shakers outside the top three offer us interesting case-studies. So this month, let’s look at three across industries: 2degrees, Lotto and KFC.
2degrees – help when Kiwis need it
2degrees jumped six places in August, moving from 13th place to seventh (at time of writing). Their marketers know what they’re doing: making Kiwis laugh by bringing back Rhys Darby, indulging our love of underdogs with the 2nd Chance Charlie series and maintaining a healthy mix of brand activation, entertaining video clips, memes and competitions on social.
But does this account for the extraordinary 78% sentiment score that Zavy Radar recorded for the brand in August?
The activity that drew our attention was a Facebook post on 15 August, advising that they were removing data caps for broadband customers during lockdown. There was no image, no link: they just explained an action they were taking to help relieve their customers of a financial stress.
Customers and non-customers alike responded enthusiastically.
“THIS! This is corporate values missing in the world. I’m only a cell customer (not a broadband customer) but heck if this doesn’t make me love you guys and advocate for you patronage even more. Chur!”
“I might have to switch paying to much for Vodafone and they do nothing like this”
“Thanks you guys are amazing. Amazing staff even when we were in level 4”
“I’m not even with you as a provider but I just wanted to say “great work” that is so lovely”
“Been with you since the start… and this is why”
Lotto – tapping into hope and the Team of 5 Million
Radar shows lots of engagement around hopeful stories at the moment. The most engaged-with story over the last fortnight was Wednesday’s news of a baby rhino calf being born at Auckland Zoo, with over 4,000 comments and 13,000 shares. Another example? 7000 kiwis shared a positive story from TV2 about an “incredible” dessert on Masterchef.
We want to lift our spirits and share that positivity around. Making people feel good and offering hope is a good place for brands to be right now. What’s more hopeful than buying a Lotto ticket?
Lotto gave Kiwis a little hope when they needed it in August – and won big on the social scoreboard. In fact, in August, Lotto received over 17 thousand mentions in New Zealand, with 267 articles and social posts, and a 47% sentiment score on Radar.
The Team of 5 million spirit is alive and well in the comments. Ahead of the $50 Million prize draw, lots of people commented to request Lotto shared the prize around lots of families, or to people in need:
“How about 50 x 1 mil prizes or 25 x 2 mill prizes to help share it around and boost our regions during these times?”
Be great if 50 people won a million each, making a difference in 50 lives instead of 1”
“100 people should win$500,000 each – at least buy a house for themselves”
“This would be amazing, even better if 50 families won a piece of the pie, as so so so many families could do with a bit of this right now…good luck to all…stay safe people”
KFC: Sparking conversation with a global campaign
“Finger Lickin’” has been part of KFC’s global branding since the 1950s. But during a pandemic, is that the right message? The BBC reports that the UK Advertising Standards Authority received 163 complaints about a KFC TVC that showed people licking their fingers.
And KFC realised their global audience were all going through something of a shared experience due to COVID-19. They did something unprecedented: they removed “Finger-lickin’” from their slogan across all markets, and launched a campaign with little to no creative variation across the world.
The Head of Agency for Mother, KFC UK’s creative agency, told The Drum:
“If you’re just aware of cultural context around you, the turbulent times that we’re going through right now offer plenty of opportunities for very tuned in marketeers and agencies to figure out how to cut ahead… It’s the first time ever for at least two generations we’ve had everyone feeling the same about something. As horrible as the pandemic is, it has created a unique insight or context for everyone to actually riff off.”
For Ritson followers, this strategy is a classic example of a brand being able to play with their codes after doing the time and spending decades consistently reinforcing them. The question is: did the global messaging resonate in New Zealand?
Radar shows around 240 mentions and 34% sentiment around the slogan change for KFC. On Facebook, several followers took the opportunity to call out Auckland’s relative lack of hygiene. Some shared how they can lick their fingers with impunity because they’re not in Auckland. A few thought it was funny. And some …didn’t get the joke:
“That’s not going to happen! People will end up with no immunity to anything, if they can’t lick their own germ’s! I’d keep the slogan if I were you.”
“I’m going to keep licking my own fingers”
KFC New Zealand haven’t used the ‘finger lickin’ good’ slogan in advertising for many years. It’s been kept to their packaging. This might explain level of engagement with this global idea in NZ – as Ritson says, you’ve got to reinforce your brand codes for people to notice and care if you play around with them.
But despite it all, it did help spark conversation – and Kiwis remain, overall, incredibly optimistic about KFC.
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