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6 charity TV and video ads during coronavirus

Howard Lake | 22 April 2020 | News

Commercial TV ads have been repurposed to reflect the sudden change in lifestyle for everyone in the UK. Now charities are running ads that reference or reflect the impact of coronavirus and of living life on hold. 
It hasn’t taken long but charity videos and TV adverts that reflect our different world now have begun to appear. They mention coronavirus, reflect the challenges that lockdown presents to all of us, or convey the greater demand placed on charities because of the crisis. 

Marie Curie – On Hold

Marie Curie’s advert features coronavirus head on, depicting a world that has shifted out of its tracks, where everything is on hold.
But for charities like Marie Curie, as the advert indicates in the story of one person, its work cannot be put on hold. And it needs help to do so.
“Because of coronavirus, everything is being put on hold. We wish we could put terminal illness on hold too. But we can’t. In this time of national emergency, Marie Curie Nurses and hospices are needed more than ever. We urgently need your donations. Donate now at mariecurie.org.uk/donate“.

Macmillan Cancer Support – Falling (2020)

Macmillan Cancer Support’s ‘Falling’ advert has aired before but it has now produced a new version which mentions the greater challenges it and cancer patients face given the coronavirus crisis.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

DePaul UK- Covid-19 and how we’re helping

Depaul UK’s video explains how the coronavirus crisis has resulted in them having to work even harder to keep young people safe. The video, which is an update for supporters and the public and does not include a fundraising ask, is shot mostly from the home of a front-line staff member in London and the South East of England. 

Age UK – emergency coronavirus appeal

Age UK, together with creative agency Brave, has launched a new film starring actor Jim Broadbent to support the charity’s £10m Coronavirus Emergency Appeal so it can be there for older people who need its support during this major health emergency.
“The Government’s instructions to stay at home are vital in protecting everyone from the life threatening virus, especially older people who are among the most at risk of serious illness or even death if they contract COVID-19. But they mean that millions of older people are facing a miserable and frightening time alone, and the charity is particularly worried for those millions of older people who are on their own, without family and friends nearby or at all.”

British Red Cross: what did you do?

The British Red Cross’ advert takes us to a time when we look back at this period. It inspires us by asking “what did you do?”, against footage of people doing what is now ordinary – home-schooling for all, video chats with grandparents and vulnerable friends and family, and posting rainbow pictures in the window.

Riffing on its brand theme of ‘#PowerOfKindness’, these images become those of people helping – volunteers in a foodbank, Red Cross volunteers socially distanced but together, and a Red Cross volunteer delivering food to someone at home.
“Although this virus may keep us apart, kindness will keep us together. And right now every kind act matters”, explains the advert’s narrator.
Its call to action is cleverly balanced: “To give help or to get help visit redcross.org.uk“.

Oxfam GB

Oxfam is placing the coronavirus crisis in an international context. For many therefore it is a crisis on top of a crisis. “We’re in this together”, the final message of the video takes on a much wider context than the way it is often presented in the UK.

Commercial videos

What are commercial brands doing with video now? They’ve adapted too, some with a mix of humour and the standard safety messages:

Others are highlighting positively how people are overcoming the challenges of social distancing:

Some ads like NatWest’s are very reminiscent of charity fundraising adverts:

Others are celebrating the work of keyworkers and charity staff and volunteers:

In fact Budweiser has taken another approach as well, reprising one of its 90s’ popular ads and, with a little dubbing in of references to quarantine, making it fit our current times.


Your videos

Which of these videos worked well for you? Do they inspire you to create a video of your own? How will you be publishing videos that work in the weeks to come if you still don’t have the ability to get outside and video other people and places?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.