News and insights • Posted on 27 July 2020

TBB's round-up of the best lockdown campaigns

The first half of 2020 proved a funny old time for marketing. Lockdown saw the scrapping of campaigns marketers had put months of hard work into and brands had to find unique and tactful ways to reach out to audiences, all the while remaining sensitive to an unprecedented situation unfolding at lightning pace.

As consumers, we’ve used social media like never before, found innovative ways to connect and really appreciated how creatives have worked with limited resources to grab our attention. And whether they’ve taken a humorous, heartwarming or educational approach, most brands have nailed it with their marketing campaigns throughout lockdown.

Here, some of the TBB crew reflect on the marketing campaigns that have made them smile – for whatever reason – over the last few months.

Verve: The 20-second soap

When it was announced there was a global pandemic, fear was rife about germs and antibacterial products and sanitisers flew off shelves. But simply washing your hands is the most powerful armour in a pandemic. However, research showed a disappointing 5% of the population were soaping up their mitts for the recommended 20 seconds required to get them completely virus-free. A pretty grim figure.

Irish creative agency, Verve, had the brainchild of creating a soap that lasts for precisely 20 seconds. Once it’s gone, you know you’ve done the job. It’s a super simple, striking concept and tangible way to raise awareness about the importance of having squeaky clean hands, and it works for those who don’t want to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice in the bathroom. The concept was initiated to help combat the spread of COVID-19 and to share the message of hand hygiene. It got an overwhelming response online and hundreds of little soaps were shipped across the country and helped put a smile on faces at a time when smiles were needed. For those who didn’t manage to get their hands on one, Verve shared a ‘how-to’ guide on creating your very own 20-second soap. All you need is bar of soap and a knife to carve 15mm x 15mm squares. It’s an activity for all the family and a way to educate kids on why handwashing is so important. This was so simple, it was actually genius.

Charlotte Allen, UX/UI designer

Fitness trainers’ live workouts

I love how fitness and personal trainers brought their offerings to the forefront of social media and opened their content up for everyone to use and share. Courtney Black and Joe Wicks spring to mind but there are so many who have invited us to join their workouts. Doing something they would usually charge for, for free, during all of this uncertainty has definitely set them in good stead for the future.

I also really admired IKEA’s campaign about creating the company’s famous meatballs at home, as well as the ideas it released for inspiration for building dens around the home. I thought this was a really playful way of giving a nod to the situation but not outwardly mentioning coronavirus at a time when all people needed was less talk about the situation and more positivity.

Ruby Ribbons, account manager

Durex: Let’s not go back to normal

With everyone keen to work towards a return to normal during lockdown, Durex used this campaign to invite us not to return to normal in regards to attitudes surrounding sexual health. In the manifesto released alongside this campaign, the brand touched on things like ‘making rubbish excuses for not wearing a condom’ or ‘shaming women for even carrying one’. The campaign talked about giving us the chance to reset what normal looks like. I thought this was a great way to bring light to certain outdated views and make people question their opinions on them.

Kara Clifford, designer

Zara models worked from home

Spanish-owned company Zara found itself missing out on retail sales due to lockdown so had to get creative to launch its SS20 range – instead of simply uploading product shots like other retailers. I liked it because it showed people in their homes rather than in full make up in the studio. It was completely down to earth and relatable. It also gave out clear messaging about staying at home and demonstrated how big brands were being responsible – they used what they had, gave great guidance to their models and still created something brilliant for their customers.

Emma Heslop, account director

Little Tikes offered a little help to the nation’s parents

Forgive the cheeky mention – there were so many amazingly creative campaigns throughout lockdown but one of our own was very close to my heart. We worked with our client children’s toy manufacturer Little Tikes, as well as Carousel PR, to create a month-long campaign to help parents keep little ones entertained and educated throughout the stay-at-home period. Fun activities and downloadable games featured throughout the month of May to inspire children and parents and communicate the message that imagination knows no bounds – so what if we were confined to our homes? The inspirational content and activities all built up to The World’s Biggest Play Date – a massive play event that brought families together digitally. It was celebrated in the US too. As a parent, I found this whole campaign to not only be creative and bring a smile to families’ faces – it was of huge value too. At a time when mental health of all ages was of the utmost importance, Little Tikes played its part in the way it knows how – inspiring imaginations and creating play and learning.

Carrie Webb, senior writer

ITV campaigned to get Britain talking

I really admired ITV’s Britain Get Talking campaign. It focused on ensuring that, during in strange time, we were still connecting with each other. A Zoom brought together famous names and got them all talking – and it wasn’t without the glitches we all experienced. Accidental muting, late arrivals and clumsy goodbyes had us all smiling.  The campaign resonated because it was something we all experienced and I felt it was a really nice touch during #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. It was extremely heartwarming and a lovely reminder that everyone was going through similar struggles and we weren’t on our own – a message there’s always someone there to listen. The Britain Get Talking campaign is part of ITV’s five-year mental wellness commitment and is supported by mental health charities Mind and YoungMinds.x

Grace Lenihan, account manager

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Written by Carrie Webb

A life-long lover of the written word, Carrie is your go-to for compelling content that resonates with your audience.

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