Creative effectiveness amid COVID-19: new Google research on brand storytelling

Trying to answer the question that keeps tons of advertisers awake – “What do I say and how do I say it?” – The Unskippable Labs Team at Google reviewed the best- and worst-performing 1500 ads on YouTube in March & April 2020 and compared them to ads in March/April 2019 using the same metrics. Their goal: find insights on what works for brand storytelling and brand metrics (recall, consideration, purchase intent).

Here are their 4 biggest observations:

#1 You don’t need a coronavirus ad: 80% of the ads in M/A 2020 had no corona messaging or content and still performed as well as ads in 2019 in regards to brand metrics.

#2 Coronavirus ads boosted ad recall but had minimal impact on other metrics: hypothesis is that the relevance of the ads triggered recall but due to the overindexing of the crisis, didn’t create a strong connection to the underlying brands.

#3 There are a range of viable production options: most ads in March/April were shot before the crisis and reflected typical production quality. For brands planning new ads, a completely new production might not be necessary. Slight alterations to existing ads, change of music or supers might just do the job. Here’s a framework to think about production right now:


#4 This crisis is bringing out the best in many brands: identify what connects deeply to your brand’s equity and bring it to life through actions & expression, like these ads from Budweiser and Burger King.

It’s the moment to invest in brand building and experimentation with ad formats.

Full article on Think with Google:

Photo by Christian Wiediger, Unsplash

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Nina Matzat

Nina Matzat

Digital Creative Consultant – Strategie & Konzeption für Marken, Kommunikation & Kreation. 360° Überblick - digitaler Fokus. Spezialisierung: Digitales Storytelling | Creative Effectiveness | Data Driven Creativity in digital Video & Content. Gelernt: Markenführung und Konsumentenverhalten. Ex-Google.

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