Advertising in a crisis: Sprite, Ad Council and Budweiser

That America is undergoing a crisis is unarguable: call it an identity crisis (Black Lives Matter), a political crisis (Trump and division) or a medical one with Covid-19.

Brands have never been more prominent in such matters and now they’re well and truly in the middle of it with the hate speech ad boycott at Facebook and, increasingly, Twitter – much of the furore provoked by the bizarre rantings of the president.

Advertising is down a whopping 30 per cent in the US and the hoped-for boost from the US Presidential election may never happen as most of the ads might be banned. Much of what there is currently is cause-related.

Coca-Cola is boycotting Facebook in the hate speech row and loudly supporting supporting Black Lives Matter in this new film from Wieden+Kennedy New York for Sprite.

At first it looks as though W+K is in full epic mode; it sort of is but lockdown means it’s becomes a collection of (admittedly striking) stills.

More Black Lives Matter from R/GA for the privately-funded and “non-partisan” PSA producer the Ad Council, originally formed to support the 1939-45 war effort. Looks pretty partisan to me.

Budweiser is not supporting the Facebook boycott and it’s turned to Anomaly Canada for what some people see as a refreshing dose of normality: puppies and Clydesdales.

Takes all sorts – 7s all round.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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