INSPO on Advertising During COVID-19

COVID-19 has driven many brands into silence and for good reason. With a world in lockdown and human life at stake, most attempts at brand advertising will feel hollow and insensitive.

But passivity is the road to irrelevance. A signal that your brand sees only consumers to sell to, and not people to serve especially when times are tough. Now is perhaps one of the greatest opportunities for meaningful brand communication, and this all starts with understanding.

And so to help, we turned to INSPO - our lightning fast inspiration generator - for a fresh perspective on what the QUARANTINE MEANS, ADVERTISING and Young Asia's FAVOURITE BRAND during COVID-19.


Based on 1743 collaborative poems written in the HaikuJAM social writing game, it seems that the Quarantine is a chance to:

🎨 Be creative

πŸ€“ Learn new skills

πŸ₯— Eat healthier food

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ Spend time with family

😴 Catchup on sleep

πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» Hangout online

... and it is also a time of anticipation, with this sentiment being expressed in 45% of the poems.

This is a great starting point for brands to better understand the on-the-ground realities for people and create content accordingly.

And there are some great manifestations of these findings, for instance take the motorcycle brand Royal Enfield:

It was quick to accept that there's little place for motorcycles during a lockdown. So instead, encouraged its community to #StayHome and share a #TripStory from previous favourite rides (tapping into nostalgia), as well as creating anticipation by asking people where they'll be adventuring to when the lockdown ends.

Kudos to Royal Enfield marketers for hitting all the right notes.


Norman Douglas's words also apply to ideals of a brand, especially at sensitive times like we're in now.

Looking at some of the associations from 4158 recent poems in HaikuJAM, it seems that brand ideals are less than ideal, with references to being fake and making a fool out of people.

And yet there are plenty of green shoots. A good ad can:

πŸ˜„ Put a smile on your face

πŸ€” Show different perspectives

❀️ Spread love and positive emotions

INSPO also detected a near 50:50 split between positive and negative emotions expressed in poems about ADVERTISING.

So it seems that the universe split two ways: the transactional brands looking only to sell vs the storytellers on a mission to serve. Here are some wonderful examples of the latter: a curation of COVID-19 Ads from Ads of the World.


Last year, Apple topped Interbrand's Best Global Brands list.

This year, perhaps Humanity will.

INSPO revealed that Humanity was one of the most popular associations, well ahead of brand names like Nike, McDonalds and Ferrari, from 1179 recent poems about My Favourite Brand written in HaikuJAM.

Any brand team reading this that's not putting people at the centre of everything they do, should take heed...

Another curious tidbit is the presence of NescafΓ© and absence of Starbucks in the poems. This likely reflects the behavioural shift from going to cafΓ©s to making coffee at home due to lockdowns. But the surge in positive emotions surrounding NescafΓ©, especially joy, perhaps suggests that Young Asians are enjoying a humbler and homelier coffee experience. It'll be interesting to see if this continues when the world is back outside, and how the other coffee brands respond.

πŸ–‹ πŸ“ 🀳 πŸ“° πŸ–Ό 🎼 πŸ“š 🎨

The INSPO beta is now generating inspiration from content across the creative web - quotes, poems, social, blogs, lyrics and more!

Join the waitlist here.

Dhrupad Karwa

Dhrupad Karwa