Creative Branding Through Covid-19

This eerie time can feel unthinkable and disheartening.  But there is always a silver lining, there is a reignited sense of community, and a special kind of togetherness that we feel by all being apart.

Among some of the many tragedies we will see, are the loss of small businesses.  One of my favorite things to see is the stand out small business owners who are fighting to stay open by continuing to come up with new ideas.

Barstool Pizza Reviews

Dave did not quit One Bite Pizza reviews when New York went into a state of emergency. Rather, he joined his viewers in staying at home, and continued reviewing pizzas by using popular frozen pizza brands. Rebranding to stay relevant, Barstool Pizza Reviews from Dave’s home have comprable views to his average pizza review posts.

Pritchard Music Academy

Local music academy in Gaithersburg, MD has joined the digital community by providing lessons over facetime.  Many businesses have had to move online during the pandemic, but doing music lessons online takes it a step further.  This is something that can help them not only stay in business for the time being, but also grow when the dust settles.


Clyde’s was known in the area for a higher-end choice for family’s Sunday brunches or celebratory dinners.  Without this option, Clyde’s rebranded. Clyde’s was known as a “home away from home” for many, and now they are bringing it to people’s homes. Now they are offering delivery for the first time ever.  

Ledo Pizza

Though pizza is a take out staple, Ledo’s is a locally owned pizza chain that was losing business after people started to stay home for the virus.  Ledo’s started providing make-your-own pizza kits, the perfect solution. Easy to sell, and great for families looking for ways to keep themselves busy.

Zoom Charlottesville 

As a local spin studio in Charlottesville, providing online classes was not going to cut it for Zoom to keep their doors open.  Rather than cutting their losses, the dynamic studio owners rented the bikes from the studio out to their customers. Now, Zoom can continue to operate online spin classes to their regular customers.  

Creativity is more than dreaming up great copy on just the right design, or the perfect cast for an advertisement.  Creativity is understanding the consumer in a way they didn’t know they could be understood, and then delivering.

The Most Creative Super Bowl Ad of 2020

“Famous Orders” McDonald’s Super Bowl Ad by Wieden & Kennedy New York is remarkable because of its audacity not to be just another Super Bowl Ad.  The 30-second spot highlights celebrity fans’, fictional characters’, and famous NFL players’ go-to orders. 

It is not obvious, but once you start watching – you’re hooked.  The viewer is intensely reading to see who orders what at McDonald’s.  The ad uses celebrity features and humor, but the creative team at Wieden & Kennedy did not opt to merely plug in the expected Super-Bowl ad formula for success.  This is something only a brand with great customer loyalty and tradition, like McDonald’s, could accomplish- and they did it perfectly.

McDonald’s is an icon, and the ad features iconic orders by icons.  Somehow, comparing Kim Kardashian West’s or Julius Caesar’s McDonald’s order to your own, the customer becomes a part of something larger than themselves- a community of icons, and maybe they are even an icon themselves just for lovin’ it too.

The Chicago Roastery

For those who worship, Starbucks in the morning is an important ritual.  But when you’re visiting the same shrine every day, it’s hard to keep the fire inside you ignited.  When Starbucks announced its largest Reserve Roastery was opening in our city, the zealots all praised the gods.  Finally- a cathedral for all fanatics to come together to honor their rite.

Although I do worship,  I was reluctant to join the celebrations at first, but once I saw this print ad the day before the grand opening, I knew I had to wait in line on opening day.

I admired the copywriting, and started thinking about why Starbucks is a great brand and what this opening means for the brand.  Located on Michigan Avenue, this location is more about the experience Starbucks can offer than anything else. The glass outer shell of the building makes it stand out on one of Chicago’s main tourist destinations.  Unlike the buildings around it, it has a modern yet welcoming look that matches the feeling of a traditional Starbucks in a non-traditional way. The inside of the store caters to travelers. Each floor features specialty cuisines and foods that aim to replicate traditional italian cafes and french pastry shops.  Though lesser celebrated by critics, my favorite attraction in the Reserve Roastery is the specialty espresso beans available from all around the world. The beans are for sale along with a coffee passport to encourage customers to try them all. This gives the consumer a sense of urgency to continue to explore all the options, and a feeling of special status to loyal customers.

Starbucks mission is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit.”   While the focus remains livening their customers daily routine, the growth of the Reserve Brand keeps people in awe of Starbucks.  The Chicago Roastery is truly a spectacle, (and so was the hour-long line I waited in on opening day.) This opening is a link in strengthening brand culture.  Starbucks has nurtured the human spirit by supporting local artists, offering college scholarship programs to employees, famously sending employees to an anti-racism training, and now- becoming tourist destinations. 

Consulted: Starbucks branding review

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