A look at PR industry’s most creative campaigns during lockdown

Leading agencies talk about their most creative works during the COVID-induced lockdown

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Jun 3, 2020 1:40 PM


PR Campaigns

“When the going gets tough, the tough gets going," a popular witticism in American English fits aptly for public relations industry during the corona times. The stretched lockdowns amid abysmally soaring cases had physically halted all industrial operations adding to the load of the industry to help brands and companies sail over the tide. PR industry not only adapted to the new normal of working from home but also pulled the benchmark of quality, dedication and perseverance a notch higher amid the pandemic-induced lockdown.
Often referred as “storytellers” in the communication diaspora, PR industry meticulously created conversations for brand recalls and brand positioning throughout the lockdown phase so as to keep the businesses across boards visible to their audience. Despite of rationed budget allocation by clients, the image doctors worked diligently and gingerly for their clients and created meaningful campaigns that served dual purpose of keeping the businesses going digitally and at the same time did not sound opportunistic or money-minded.
e4m interacted with some key players in the industry about their work during the past two months of lockdown and tried to make a list of the best creative stories created by agencies for their clientele.
Here is a review of their most creative campaigns during the lockdown phase:-

1. Adfactors PR
Client- ICICI Lombard
Campaign Title- DurRehkarBhi Hum NibhayeVaade

Objective: “As the country went into lockdown on March 24, 2020, the world collectively completed its long due transition to virtual, from traditional or physical. Seeing an opportunity in adversity, ICICI Lombard stepped up its digital transition. Although, the government deemed insurance as an ‘exempted activity’, ICICI Lombard stuck to its core philosophy of #NibhayeVaade and utilized its robust technological infrastructure to assist the nation in battling the COVID-19 pandemic by adhering to the strictest norms of social distancing. This gave us a good chance to position the technological prowess of the brand in these challenging times. Thus our narrative was ‘Insuring our customers from within the comforts of our homes or DurRehkarBhi Hum NibhayeVaade’. Thus, our communication not only focused on encouraging ICICI Lombard’s customers to practice social distancing but also helping them do so by providing them with the full host of services through the means of technology, fulfilling their every need.”

Action Plan: Bearing this message in mind, AdfactorsPR team took a two-step approach to utilize owned and earned media through simple and highly informative, visuals and content.
In the first step, social media handles were used to showcase the digital accessibility of all the services provided by ICICI Lombard. The team conceptualized and designed creatives highlighting the company’s digital offerings for critical services such as health insurance and motor insurance. These images were posted through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for reaching the maximum audience.
In the second step, carefully curated content was utilized in initiating conversation in the print and digital media. The brand message of customer-centricity was driven through various story formats, such as Q& A interviews, authored articles and participation in industry, stories on a plethora of topics including trust-building in the digital age, seamless claims settlement processes and work-from-home policies.

Result: Through the traditional PR approach of combining print and online media, a total of 7.60 million people were reached across India, which translated into ad value equivalent of Rs. 16.71 million for the client .

Client- Piramal Foundation

Objective- Leveraging unique PPP model to work with the government to fight COVID-19 pandemic; reaching out to the marginalised communities in the remotest part of the country to create awareness around COVID-19; bringing down the anxiety and fear in the society especially for people who are not technology savvy or live in areas where access to media is challenging via 104 health helpline by sharing WHO and MOHFW guidelines information.
Action Plan: Proactive pitching regarding various verticals of the foundation in different news dailies, use of social assets of Piramal Foundation, Piramal Swasthya, Piramal Sarvajal and Piramal School of Leadership to amplify the messages and leveraged real-life case studies how team has proactively gone out of their way to serve the society in the current critical conditions.
Result: There has been a widespread acknowledgement of the on-ground activities undertaken during Covid-19 by the Piramal Foundation along with extensive media coverage. The government stakeholders that are partners in these activities have acknowledged the efforts taken by Piramal to generate awareness to calm a nervous and uncertain population.

2. Genesis BCW
Client- Sleepwell
Campaign Title- #StaySafeWithSleepwell

Objective:  “Sleepwell produces a diverse portfolio of mattresses and home comfort products. It recognized that one of the biggest casualties during the pandemic has been the impact on sleep. Committed to help people sleep better, we aided Sleepwell in launching an awareness campaign to reiterate the importance of sleep in building immunity. The campaign encouraged people to ensure eight hours of sound sleep as it helps to build up the body’s defences.
Action Plan: Sleepwell has also lent aid to the Indian healthcare sector in its fight against the pandemic by ensuring timely supply of 10,000 mattresses and foam sheets across healthcare institutions and quarantine centers. Pitching in all news dailies along with leveraging the digital approach.

Client- Mpower
Campaign Title- #LetsTalk1on1

Objective: “Mpower, a pioneer in Indian mental healthcare, wanted to create awareness on the impact on mental health during this worldwide crisis and offer their support to combat any concerns. Mpower brought to the fore the importance of mental health with its campaign #LetsTalk1on1.”
Action Plan: Mpower partnered with the government of Maharashtra and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to launch a 24x7 helpline to address mental health concerns in local languages. Through a campaign driven largely by public relations, we spread the word about the various aspects of mental health, mobilizing media, influencers and celebrities organically. Riding on the Instagram/Facebook Live wave, we showcased our varied therapy offerings by holding a music/art/ dance therapy workshop, quarantined parenting with mommy bloggers, work-from-home blues and relationships at home with lifestyle influencers.
We targeted children, young working professionals and families going through different circumstances, and offered free advice through interviews, articles, participating in industry conversations, quick tips on radio, and reaching out to new-age portals widely followed by the youth. We also facilitated high impact interviews with Mrs. Neerja Birla, Founder and Chairperson, with popular and widely followed media personalities and platforms.

3. Avian WE
Client: Philips
Campaign Title: Catering to lifestyle aspirations in difficult times


Objective: “The closure of retail stores during the lockdown and temporary restrictions on product sales through e-commerce platforms dealt a heavy blow to the consumer durables industry. Moreover, most print media houses had downsized their editions, with some even going fully digital, and focused only on Covid-19-related stories. This meant Phillips products could not be bought either online or in stores, and there was no media outlet to talk about the brand”.
Action Plan:To sustain conversations around Phillips’ portfolio of products - kitchen appliances, beauty, and male grooming:
Reached out to lifestyle and food bloggers to create topical content on the brand’s role in making people’s lives easier and happier in self-isolation
Developed content partnerships with online influencers around story ideas such as how Philips Kitchen Appliances can help you make healthy meals conveniently at home, get ready for a Skype meeting in 5 mins with hair straightening brush, and Using OneBlade to style beards at home when salons are closed, to name a few.
Engaged with Philips brand ambassadors across categories to reach out to a wider audience.
Leveraged our relationship with influencers engaged with in the past: Amy Chhabra, Aishwarya KaushalTejeshwarSandhoo, Abhinav Mathur, Nikita Aggarwal, and Udit Batra, to name a few.
Leveraged online media platforms to explore feature story opportunities around personal grooming at home.
Result: Reached over 2 million users through influencers and brand ambassadors

Client name: Avon
Campaign Title: #IsolatedNotAlone


Objective- “In the midst of the pandemic, women and children at risk of domestic violence have become more vulnerable since they are trapped with their perpetrators. This has led to a global surge in domestic violence. To address this, AVON along with AVON Foundation for Women launched the #IsolatedNotAlone campaign.”
Action Plan- To signpost help for those in need, AVON partnered with three NGOs – Shakti Shalini, Swayam and Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) – and issued a total grant of USD $122,500 (approximately Rs94 lakh).
To spread awareness, Avon hosted live sessions on Instagram with opinion leaders such as Laxmi Agarwal (acid attack survivor), Vrinda Grover (lawyer), Faraz Arif Ansari (filmmaker), Dr. Samir Parikh (psychiatrist) and Roshni Bhatia (lifestyle influencer). Avon also engaged with Instagram influencers who actively talk about societal issues, such as Aishwarya Sharma, Nivedita, Priya Rana and Naaz Arora, through which the brand was able to reach out to over a million unique users.
In addition, Avon has issued an open letter to the government requesting them to put more emphasis on front-line services and policies around domestic violence.

4. PR Pundit
Client- ITC Personal Care
Campaign Title- #EngageResponsibly

Objective: ITC Engage launched #EngageResponsibly urging the public to demonstrate sensitivity and empathy towards the elderly by reaching out to them and offering support.
Action Plan- The brand collaborated with influencers to showcase how to help senior citizens in their families cope better and urging consumers to do the same.
Campaign Title- ITC Vivel’s Ab Samjhautha Nahin
As part of ITC Vivel’s Ab Samjhautha Nahin campaign, we released a video on Mother’s Day. The video featured ITC Vivel’s brand ambassador and Bollywood actress, Kriti Sanon reciting a special poem nudging women not to ignore the most pivot person in the whole ecosystem – themselves. It was a tribute to the sentiment of millions of women who are juggling the house work and office front effortlessly in the wake of their increased responsibilities during lockdown.

Client- Kaya Clinic
Campaign Title- #StayInWithKaya

Objective: Kaya Clinic initiated a PAN India outreach through daily video consultation to assist in dermatology approved skincare, haircare and any stress-related allergy treatment measures at home. Kaya activated over 140 expert dermatologists across India via free video consultation programme on the Kaya toll-free number – 1800-209-5292.

Action Plan: PR Pundit proactively engaged key stakeholders and influencers to drive awareness for Kaya’s efforts in generating as many enquires as possible to provide the required aid and assistance.

PR Pundit activated the announcement via retail, beauty & lifestyle media platforms and regional media.
Video Consultation Programmes were conducted independently with 4 media houses to validate and explain the effectiveness of the video dermat consultations.
PR team initiated a well-considered outreach via LIVE sessions with key beauty Bloggers and dermatologists to engage the larger network of audience.
Kaya’s Instagram handle was also activated for a #StayInWithKaya guest influencer wellness program initiated by PR Pundit
Features were initiated to build awareness on homecare remedies and related concerns on a weekly basis in April and May with commentary from Kaya dermatologists in all skin care related media features

Result: In April alone, over 350 video consultations were undertaken across India as part of the enquires generated. Over 600 consultations in total have been covered.
On Instagram, 8 IG Live sessions were hosted, engaging 5 senior dermatologists for a total duration of over 300 minutes.
Six guest influencer programmes as part of #StayInWithKaya initiative focused on nutrition, fitness, mind healing. The social media activity reached an audience of 457K.
Secured over 40 digital features in retail, Ad & Marketing and key beauty & lifestyle portals on the announcement.
Key publications included Vogue, Femina, POPXO and IANS.

5. Strategic Partners Group - SPAG
Client- Global medical devices company
Objective- Leverage unique PPP model to work with the government to fight COVID-19 pandemic; Reach out to the marginalised communities in the remotest part of the country to create awareness around COVID-19; bring down the anxiety and fear in the society especially for people who are not technology savvy or live in areas where access to media is challenging via 104 health helpline by sharing WHO and MOHFW guidelines information

Action Plan- Develop medical expert-led webinar focused on patients & caregivers, who are not able to go for elective surgery and living in pain. Our expert used the opportunity to provide his views and also answer the question on how to manage pain at home.
Result: We got more than 400 patients & caregivers, who joined the first webinar. Based on the success of the first webinar, the client asked to replicate it in 4 other location across India.














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