With backing from drinks-industry leaders including former BrewDog chief executive and Red Bull UK managing director Andy Shaw and Formula One racing star David Coulthard, wine-in-a-can brand Hun had aimed to launch as the exclusive wine of the Mighty Hoopla, All Points East and British Summer Time festivals.
However, with the UK on lockdown, the brand – which claims to be only canned wine on the market that is both vegan and Fairtrade – had to change its plans quickly and has instead opted for a tongue-in-cheek outdoor campaign.
Created by TBWA\London, the work comprises a series of punchy remarks including: "Did you see our new advertising campaign? No, didn’t think so."
Another reads: "Our advertising agency put our poster out here. They’re not our advertising agency anymore."
Launching today (4 April), the campaign will appear across London alongside a digital campaign that will award free wine to people who have had birthdays, weddings and anniversaries during the lockdown. It was created by Harriet Russell-Vick and Lauren Buggins.
Hun is not the only brand to make light of the questionable decision to launch an out-of-home campaign during lockdown: crisps brand Emily has taken a similar approach with an outdoor campaign that took advantage of Clear Channel's reduced rates during Covid-19.
Sometimes the most fun and reactive marketing campaigns can be the best. Plus, who doesn't need some humour at times like this! Well done #EmilyCrisps. #marketingcampaign #Covid19 https://t.co/GXIoTZ27Vp pic.twitter.com/3RGWWpcHEX
And TBWA is no stranger to a meta, self-aware humour in ads. Its recent campaign for McVitie's took a tongue-in-cheek swipe about the wisdom of sponsoring the elite athletes of Team GB – who wouldn't be eating any biscuits during their training.
"We had an amazing festival line-up this year," Mark Woollard, co-founder of Hun, told Campaign.
"We managed to land some amazing deals, which we were super-proud of, and then they all got pulled away.
"We were in a position where we were obviously bitterly disappointed, but this campaign gives us something a bit different we feel we can shout about as a brand."
Woollard expressed relief that the brand had not launched "pre-corona", removing the issue of having to change what would have been a "very skewed festival message" in light of a tidal wave of postponed summer events.
Andy Jex, chief creative officer at TBWA\London, added: "Even at the best of times, launching a new product is tough. But launching a sociable wine brand in the midst of a global lockdown, when no-one's allowed out, could just be the worst timing ever… or is it?"