8 ads that celebrated 2020’s real heroes

Adidas 'Thank You, Healthcare Heroes'
Adidas 'Thank You, Healthcare Heroes'

This year, brands shined a light on the everyday heroes and frontline workers who provided essential services amid the pandemic.

1. Uber ‘Thank You for Not Riding’

Instead of encouraging customers to use Uber during the pandemic, the ride-share service thanked people in April for staying home “for those who can’t.” Uber created an ad featuring self-shot footage filmed from riders, who kept themselves entertained and connected with family and friends via social media.

The film was created by Wieden + Kennedy and produced by Prettybird.

2. Google ‘Thank You Healthcare Workers’

In a March ad, Google revealed how people were using its search engine to help healthcare workers battling on the frontlines of the pandemic. The ad showed vignettes of doctors and nurses as they fought COVID-19 in hospitals, while people thanked them for their services.

The film was created by Essence.

3. Dove ‘Courage Is Beautiful’

In April, Dove celebrated healthcare workers battling coronavirus in a poignant ad that featured photos of real doctors and nurses. The pictures highlighted how these caregivers’ faces were marked by the PPE equipment they were forced to wear all day in the hospital to protect themselves from the virus. Dove ended the ad with the message that “courage is beautiful.”  

The film was created by Ogilvy.

4. Coca-Cola ‘For the Human Race’

Coca-Cola saluted people doing their part amid the pandemic in celebration of International Workers’ Day in April. The CPG giant created an ad with clips of people around the world overcoming difficulties, such as toilet paper shortages and being isolated from loved ones. The spot also celebrated their triumphs, including staying connected with each other during an uncertain year.

The film was created by Merdeka LHS.

5. Adidas ‘Thank You, Healthcare Heroes’

Adidas shifted its praise from athletes to healthcare workers in an ad that featured doctors and nurses voicing their fears about the pandemic. One doctor admits that he’s never been “this nervous” during all of  his years practicing medicine. Another healthcare worker reveals that she’s constantly worried about following safety protocols. At the end of the ad, Adidas announced it teamed up with manufacturer Carbon to produce 3D printed face shields for healthcare workers. 

The film was created by Adidas.

6. Apple ‘Creativity Goes On’

In April, Apple showed us how people kept creativity alive despite the confines of the pandemic.The ad featured self-shot footage of people drawing pictures on iPads, producing video content on Macbooks and sharing music via social media. Apple also included clips of actor John Krasinski working on his YouTube series, #SomeGoodNews, Oprah Winfrey chatting with viewers on Apple’s Oprah Talks web series and actress Lily James reading a children’s book as part of the #SaveWithStories initiative. 

The film was created by TBWA/Media Arts Lab.

7. Amazon ‘Thank You Amazon Workers’

In March, Amazon paid tribute to retail workers, the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, as people opted for online shopping in quarantine. The e-commerce giant showcased the often unseen faces of online retail from those working on the warehouse floor to delivery drivers.The film was created by Amazon.

The film was created by Amazon.

8. Montefiore Health System and Alto ‘State of Gratitude’

In the spring, New Yorkers honored healthcare workers every evening at 7 p.m. with a symphony of pots and pans from inside their homes. Montefiore hospital brought back that moving tradition with a city-wide tribute featuring Montefiore healthcare workers, the Orchestra of The Bronx, Every Voice Choirs, Brooklyn United Music & Arts Program and everyday New Yorkers. The spot aired for the first time in November during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The film was created by Montefiore Einstein Hospital and Alto and directed by Henry-Alex Rubin.

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