Advertising “During These Uncertain Times…”

2020 is a new frontier for everyone: school teachers, nurses, Corporate America, retailers, and the list goes on. As a result, marketers had their work cut out and many were up for the challenge of “uncertain times” with much creativity. Here are some of our favorite ways brands respond to the pandemic.

Burger King

Suddenly, masks were introduced into our daily lives, making what people are saying a bit difficult to hear. Burger King took this new challenge and created a no-words-needed solution for their drive-thru service. Customers who placed advance orders, received a custom-printed version of their order written on a face mask. No words needed. We think this is a great idea…as long as you don’t mind walking around with a little sauce on your face!


Starbucks often capitalizes on the meme culture surrounding the written names on their cups. But in 2020, they rethought how to use that meme in a relevant way, and it involved poking fun at a newfound hardship for its baristas. We don’t know what name was said behind the mask to create “Mmphffth,” but we hope they found their drink.

Ice Breakers

Step aside post-meal and pre-date mints, the pre-mask mint is the hero this year. Ice Breakers have been around for almost 25 years, but now have another occasion where they come in handy. With their campaign “Mint Before You Mask,” Ice Breakers is advocating for mask wearing while also advertising their product because mask breath is real.


A candy bar doesn’t have much relevance to a global pandemic, but Snickers was able to create a scenario where it did. They turned, “you’re not you when you’re hungry,” into “you’re not you when you’re out of the house.” This light-hearted commercial helps consumers relate to the oddity of meeting in person post-lockdown, instead of being behind a screen. #COVIDconfusion.


The Subway brand is synonymous with two words, “Eat Fresh.” But those two words were changed to bring a new meaning to their brand and values. “Stay Safe” temporarily replaces “Eat Fresh,” accompanied by their logo wearing a face mask. We love this adjustment to their branding because it shows how subtle changes can mean so much.

If there is any good to be had out of this pandemic, is how brands quickly reimagined something they had been doing the same way for many years. These were some of our favorites, but if we missed any great ones, let us know!