As the Olympics of 2020 are cancelled, we may as well expect Cannes Lions and a dozen other awards shows to be as well, but that hasn't slowed down the award-bait ad ideas being rolled out on the topical Coronavirus wave. It's a big trend recently to mess with the signs of a big brand in conjunction with events, see the Superbowl LIV Burger King sign for a recent example.
First out was McDonald's, with their separated golden arches logo. "McDonald's separates its golden arches in an act of coronavirus solidarity" read the headline at Creativity as Brazilian agency DPZ&T unwittingly bought McDonald's USA tons of bad press.
The agency explained that the concept is that we are all "separated for a moment so that we can always be together, " but as tons of workers were put on leave without pay in the USA, social media USA soon erupted in negative reactions to the Brazilian campaign. As US cities and even states were told to shelter in place, a McDonald's manager went viral with a video asking ‘If I Caught the Coronavirus, Would You Want Me Making Your Next Meal?’ forcing the global corporation to review how they deal with sick-leave.
Another global brand just joined in on the "social distancing" signalling, namely Coca Cola. The world-famous billboard in Times Square, New York City, is now used to spread health advice amid COVID-19.
An obviously extremely limited amount of people will see it, as New York is under lockdown, but someone managed to get an agency photo of it.
This Times Square billboard was created in partnership with Mercado McCann in Argentina. But Coke is doing more than just award-bait billboards, they have reduced person-to-person interactions by restricting the truck divers to stay inside their trucks, and they now have additional cleaning and sanitization routines while restricting visitors and moving as many as possible to work from home.
"In line with recommendations to reduce large gatherings and increase social distancing, The Coca-Cola Company has asked the majority of office-based employees to work remotely. This includes employees based at the company’s global headquarters in Atlanta, with about 6,500 employees. The company intends to return to normal operations on April 13 in Atlanta but will continue to reevaluate its plans."
So as events and even the Olympics are cancelled, we'll now have plenty of time to add a new category to the Cannes Lions for "separated logos". I propose that Slovenian designer Jure Tovrljan win the Grand Prix as he already did most of them, including a cheeky new Corona logo.