Sometimes adversity is simple. It’s either fight … or flight.

American psychologist Walter Bradford Cannon is credited with coining the term “fight-or-flight response,” which describes the physiological reaction to perceived threats or potentially harmful events.

To some degree, we’ve all experienced this base instinct. Before we know it, our subconscious decides to stand tall or get out of dodge. It’s ingrained in us.

Since people are ultimately behind every corporate logo, it’s engrained in businesses too.

How is your business dealing with marketing during the pandemic? Is it hunkering down – cutting ad spend? Or is your business trying to turn the current environment into an opportunity?

If you’re braving the storm, you’ll need to be calculated in your marketing approach. We’re in a unique environment that demands a special type of creativity.

Thankfully, hard times breed creativity. Here are a few companies that have embraced creativity during the pandemic.


In March, to encourage social distancing and quarantining, Nike released the following ad:

It’s still on-brand for Nike in the sense that it engages with people’s dreams of playing professional sports, but the creative play on words advocates a bigger, global cause.

The ad followed the company’s announcement that it would be donating $15 million to COVID-19 response efforts (which is now closer to $17 million). It’s a unified response and message that effectively demonstrates their willingness to help – while encouraging others to do the same.


St. Patrick’s Day is usually a big sales opportunity for Irish breweries, such as Guinness. As social distancing challenged traditional celebrations, Guinness released a powerful response video – and pledged to donate $500,000 to help impacted communities.

The video concludes with a masterful line:

“When you raise a pint of Guinness, also remember to raise each other up. Be good to one another, celebrate safely, thank the ones protecting us. And now or later, don’t forget to stop in and say hi to all of our friends in the pubs and bars. As for us? We signed a 9,000-year lease on our brewery a while back, so we’re not going anywhere. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.”

The message is empathetic and caring. Plus, with a bit of humor, it lets customers know that Guinness isn’t closing its doors anytime soon.


In response to stay-at-home mandates, Chiquita creatively responded by redesigning its classic logo – which no longer features Miss Chiquita.

The company unveiled the new logo on Instagram with the following caption: “I’m already home. Please do the same and protect yourself. 💛 #stayhome”

It’s a clever way to convey Chiquita’s support of global efforts to contain COVID-19. Even fictional characters are staying home.

To stay relevant, brands need to embrace marketing creativity. But, as these three companies demonstrated, now isn’t the time to sell. Instead, people will respond to actions and messages that promote solidarity, community, and resilience.

What is your company doing to promote these principles? What do you want to see more brands doing right now?