In a recent blog post, advertising analytics firm Ace Metrix, El Segundo, Calif., revealed insights about the first COVID-19 related ads from Guinness, Ford and Verizon. The technology company also unveiled consumer reactions to the initial ads addressing the virus.

As for whether or not brands should address the COVID-19 pandemic in ads, a majority of the more 1,000 viewers surveyed are open to it with 42 percent agreeing that “yes, any mention is OK” whereas 44 percent think it “depends on the message and/or brand.” Only 10 percent indicated that it was not OK.

Two of the ads that saw the strongest resonance among general popular viewers had uplifting themes of unity and resilience, reminding viewers that we will get through these hard times, it reports.

In its St. Patrick’s Day ad, Guinness pledged $500,000 to communities affected by the pandemic and Ford is offering payment relief to Ford Credit customers. In the same survey, 75 percent of respondents thought brands have a responsibility to help out during this pandemic.

In the first coronavirus-related ad (hitting airwaves March 13) Guinness promotes unity, resilience and the human spirit. The ad acknowledged the unusual circumstances that surrounded this year’s St. Patrick’s Day but never directly called out COVID-19 (or coronavirus).

Among general population viewers, the overall Ace Score for “St. Patrick’s Day Message” ad was 34 percent above 90-day beer ad norms because of the strength of its likeability, relatability and the information delivered. Beer drinkers ranked it as the No. 1 beer ad of all time, the firm reports. 

On top of that, “St. Patrick’s Day Message” achieved strong signal on the empower metric from the company’s new cultural perception scoring system, which measures the risks and rewards of communicating values and social objectives in these modern times, it says.

The technology company also shared open-ended responses regarding the impact of the ad:

  • “Wow, I am sitting here in tears. This is the ad that sells. I really do not like the taste of Guinness but I just may have to buy some when I can. This ad speaks so strongly to my heart. Sure, this was the oddest St Patrick’s Day ever but we have to come together to defeat this monster in our midst and there will be other times. Thank you ad creators and Guinness!” Female 36-49
  • “I love the message of this ad, bringing people together and people raising each other up through tough times. It fits what everyone is going through right now with the virus” Male 21-35
  • “That was a wonderful commercial. One of the best I have ever seen. Congratulations, Guinness; that was a beautiful message to witness.” Female 50+
  • “I like Guiness anyway, but this was a well crafted ad cognizant of the difficulties brought on by COVID-19.” Male 36-49
  • “I really liked that it addressed the current social situation with COVID-19 (without saying it outright) and had a warm, reassuring feeling to the narration. Phrases like “if you can do so safely,” reminding us that there are so many people working through this pandemic to try to get things back on track, and visuals of small groups of people helped address what the ad was talking about (besides their product). The whole ad felt like a comforting pep-talk with just a little mention of their product peppered in.” Female 21-35

Ace Metrix we will continue to analyze ad performance in the current climate and work to uncover insights to help advertisers navigate the current situation, the company says.