How Brands are Balancing Holiday Cheer & COVID Fear in Ads

Written by Courtney Raguso, Social Media Content Creator

According to a recent report, COVID-19 themes appeared in 32% of holiday ads. 7% of them portrayed a “pre-virus world” and surprisingly, most consumers didn’t seem to care whether or not COVID-19 was referenced specifically. However, the findings suggested that what really matters is acknowledging the emotions everyone has been feeling instead of focusing on the specifics of life in a pandemic such as wearing masks. In fact, only 10% of ads reported to have featured masks. Focus on staying relevant to the current situation without having to be so literal about it; you can still get your point across and let your customers know you understand what they’re going through and offer them that value they’re looking for. This year the holidays are different, and the “new normal” has played a huge part in the advertising world as it should. In order for your advertisement to be effective in this case, you need to aim to be as relevant to your consumer as possible and work to gain emotion out of them. Emotion is what leads to action, and you’ll have to have the right balance between getting festive while still acknowledging that there’s a pandemic going on. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Here are 5 commercials achieved that balance, that offered unique value and emotion for the customer to experience and resonate with.  






Some of these ads reflect on stresses and missed connections while others turn to nostalgia to escape; but we can easily say that all of them triggered an emotion. When it comes to advertising your product, especially during a worldwide crisis, it’s more important than ever to channel your customer’s thought process. In this unprecedented holiday season, brands have been challenged with trying to resonate with audiences while remaining sensitive to the ongoing pandemic. For example, a recent survey has recently shown that a growing number of US consumers, particularly younger ones, are experiencing “Covid fatigue” and respond well to ads that provide them an escape. Meanwhile, there are other customer value ads that acknowledge the pandemic. Understanding your customer is key to finding the right tone and striking emotion. So long as an ad isn’t portraying something that encourages unsafe behavior or is totally irrelevant, you shouldn’t expect negative feedback. Finding the right tone in your holiday ad, let alone any ad, isn’t supposed to be easy, and it requires a deep understanding of your customer. 

At MSM DesignZ, we put in the time and energy needed for success, so you can ensure you are using every dollar for maximum return. With over 20 years in the business, we have watched marketing evolve from traditional to digital. Whether you need a website refresh, more attractive email, or a quality online presence, we can do it all. When we take on a client, we put in 110% and treat every brand as if it’s our own. We will always continue to place our clients’ needs at the heart of our operations. From web development to social media management, we’ll work directly with you to build a personalized strategy to not only retain but also gain business. We are assisting in all areas for our clients. Visit our contact page at, and we’ll work with you to devise a custom plan that will keep your brand alive and well. We look forward to working with you!