Here at blackswan we like a bit of disruptive thinking, usually in design but also in disruptive marketing! Before I go on, let me state that we aren’t marketing experts so, if there are others that have spotted this and explained it better (and sooner), then hats off to them.
However, we think that the marketing, the disruptive marketing, of the current Coronavirus efforts in the UK is outstanding and that not many people have spotted the marketing genius of it.
So, let’s wind back a little. Boris Johnson is getting battered for his handling of the pandemic, even though he is following scientific advice, plus the situation is unprecedented so every step is an unknown.
Couple this with people being generally dismissive of the issue and very selfish. This is a human trait, not a minority issue at this stage (a few weeks ago, that is).
Government advice is to social distance, stay home, stay away from pubs, restaurants and general gathering places. The message is, do this or lots of people will die. Seems pretty stark. Everyone will dig that, right?
The result, crowded beaches, crowded pubs, social ignorance, panic buying, hoarding.
Cometh the hour, cometh the branding.
Now, I love the NHS as much as the next person (and having a son living in the US, believe me, I LOVE the NHS). So, any additional love poured into the NHS can only be a good thing. The NHS is a treasure to our nation. Everyone knows that and every politician has used that to their advantage. Jeremy Corbyn tried and failed to use it to get into power. Brexiteers used it successfully to win the referendum. The NHS is a powerfully emotive entity for the UK.
So, how do you get people to do something that they don’t want to do, that they would actively resist, and make it so that they think they want to do it – nay, they think it is their idea and their own cause? How do you get them to push your (important and life-saving) agenda all over social media on your behalf – even shaming people who aren’t joining in?
Hmmmm, let me think.
Make it about the NHS.
Check out the Gov.uk logo. Or, how about the first line of their advice:
The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
It is a work of genius. And it is working. Our sister company, Global Upholstery Solutions, have to keep working in this time because they are part of the extended healthcare supply chain. Many of them feel guilty for working. Even though it is government advice even if they weren’t part of the healthcare supply chain!
Disruptive Marketing genius. Someone deserves a medal and accolades. That is not sarcasm. They have saved tens of thousands of lives and will probably never be acknowledged.