Despite them barely knowing me, never have I received so many emails from brands telling me “we are here for you in these unprecedented times”.

Some may call it solidarity or empathy but I think we all recognise these countless beige emails for what they are – thinly veiled “please don’t stop buying from us” plees.

Then Mark Ritson shares what he calls “Covid wank”. A video mashup (see below) of how all brands have jumped on the same bandwagon, used the same melancholy piano track, sourced the same royalty-free video clips, and created…yes, you’ve guessed “we’re here for you in these unprecedented times” adverts.

Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it’s about striking a balance. Some brands may genuinely wish to express their empathy. Everyone’s in the same pandemic boat after all.

But even in a crisis, marketing is about differentiation and a chance to really show your brand values and purpose.

In a recent Marketing Meetup webinar, Margaret Molloy (CMO of Siegal+Gale) defined a brand as “a promise kept”. Naturally, a brand can be many things to many people. When you’ve disregarded their lengthy rationales, brands are what we believe they are, not what they tell us it is.

“The hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard” Julian Masili, Carlsberg’s global brand director said.

And in response, this Adopt-a-keg campaign by Carlsberg is their promise kept.

From the witty tone of voice (which is tricky to get right in a crisis) to anthropomorphising the lonely little keg, this is a great ad.

Wait! No!

I don’t even want to call it an advert. It’s far more than that.

This is a fantastic initiative.

Carlsberg has skipped the “were here for you” message (probably because they know no one will believe them) and cut straight to the heart of the matter… helping the Danish economy recover when lockdowns are lifted, and in the shorter-term, giving people something to look forward to.

OK, yes, I hear the cynics, of course, the underlying tone is to choose Carlsberg over other ‘training lagers’. But I strongly believe we all see this as the genuine support it is intended to be. Not just to their beer-swilling customers, but to the landlords and the Danish economy.

Will I choose Carlsberg the next time I do my online shopping? Probably!

Oh, and if you’d like to watch what Mark Ritson calls ‘Covid Wank’, here you go…

Baz Richardson is the Founder & Creative Director of
Bravo Marketing  : :  Creating Difference