The Best Marketing Campaigns We Loved at the Height of Lockdown

alicia-walker.jpg  Designer/Illustrator and Outreach Executive, Mediaworks UK.

  WWS contributor


Nothing catches the eye quite like a good marketing campaign, especially during difficult times like a pandemic lockdown.

The Best Marketing Campaigns We Loved at the Height of Lockdown

Even throughout the last year, which was one of the toughest that many have experienced, brands used their marketing efforts to bring joy and positivity in people's lives.

UK mailing house Washington Direct Mail looked at marketing campaigns the public loved during 2020 and ranked them in popularity. This was measured by looking at a mix of social interactions and brand mentions to see which of the year's marketing campaigns were the most popular.

In this article, we will highlight some of the campaigns that we loved, the nation enjoyed, and people engaged most with during the initial lockdown period.


Vogue for the normal woman



Vogue’s July 2020 cover made history by featuring three women who were not models or actresses but frontline workers. These three women were Narguis Horsford, a train driver on the London Overground; Rachel Millar, a community midwife; and Anisa Omar, a supermarket worker.

All the photos were taken during lockdown, following social distancing guidelines, and at each woman’s place of work.

Vogue UK editor Edward Enninful said this about covers: "They represent the millions of people in the UK who, at the height of the pandemic, put on their uniforms and went to help."

It’s no wonder that this campaign came on top of the list of the nation’s favorite because it represented the nation at this moment in time.

People were doing very important jobs and had to risk their lives going to work each day.


A political pint, please


BrewDog ranked second as the nation’s favorite marketing campaign during the first lockdown period. This could be because it was all based on a political situation.

The Prime Minister’s advisor, Dominic Cummings, caused outrage during lockdown when he drove his family from London to Durham for childcare, and then caused further public outrage when driving 30 minutes to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight before driving back down to London.

The brewery took this situation and asked their followers to come up with a name for their new beer based on the event. A winner was chosen, and the beer is called the ‘Barnard Castle Eye Test’ with the tag line ‘a short-sighted beer for tall stories’.

This is not just a campaign about a beer with a political name, though. All the profits made from the sale of the beer went to funding the production of BrewDog’s own hand sanitizer, which they give free to the NHS and health care charities.

So, you can have a delicious pint and help the NHS at the same time.


The return of the takeaways



One of the big casualties of the first stage of lockdown was McDonald's. People were left craving some McNuggets for the longest time. So, it’s no wonder McDonald's came fifth on the list with their ‘Return of the Mac’ advert. The apt name used the song ’Return of the Mack’ to advertise that outlets were back open.  

KFC made it to one below McDonald's at sixth with their ‘We’ll Take It From Here’ campaign which displayed the public’s poor attempts at making their own KFC at home. The pictures and videos had been uploaded to social media, which KFC took and made a short clip displaying some of the best – or worst – with Celine Dion’s iconic ‘All By Myself’ playing in the background, proving that no one makes fried chicken as good as KFC.


Serious campaigns


Not all of the campaigns produced during lockdown were to sell products or services. Many were there to help the general public.

We celebrated the brilliant NHS workers all the way through 2020. We all remember standing on our doorsteps clapping for staff every week during the first lockdown. EE decided to take their love for the NHS one step further and gave them all free unlimited data for the lockdown period. You liked their generous gift so much it got to seventh on the list.

An important campaign that made the list at number nine was the one made by Women’s Aid. Domestic violence was a big concern for the country as many people knew it would get worse with people having to stay in the house all day, every day.

A joint investigation between Panorama and Women’s Aid found that there was one domestic abuse call made every 30 seconds in the first seven weeks of lockdown. It shows that this campaign has made a big difference given that it is within the top ten of the list.


Overall, there were some fantastic campaigns over the lockdown period that showed how amazing this nation can be when they all rally behind something.

Whether these campaigns came through a mailing service or you saw them on the TV, they really captured the spirit of the nation.

Alicia Walker is Outreach Executive at Mediaworks UK covering a range of sectors. She is also a Designer/Illustrator.