May 26, 2020


Kelby Clark


The COVID-19 crisis has led to a mass mix in television advertising, in which brand marketers have to bypass their current advertising campaigns to make room for culturally sensitive content with updated news. When it was announced in April that the KCAs would air in early May, speed quickly approached the show's sponsors with strategies to update their campaigns as needed so that brands can continue to support the show and promote their messages.

"This year's Kids & # 39; Choice Awards were about giving children and families an entertaining experience, from the comfort of their own home, from all their favorite stars and heroes. It was a lot more intimate because we followed social distance guidelines, but also carefree and understandable for our fans, ”he says April McKenzie, Vice President for Activation at Velocity. “Our advertisers wanted to ensure that their campaigns had maximum impact while being aligned with current reality. We quickly worked on rethinking the content and adapting all the creatives developed for the original live show scheduled for March. "

ViacomCBS x MilkPEP

Among the partners who updated their campaigns were Mattel Barbie and Training program for milk processors (MilkPEP). George SholleyThe Velocity vice president of production said, "Working with each brand, we were able to edit some of the footage or add new content to ensure that the creative reflected the current global situation while maintaining its core message."

"We are nimble by nature," adds Lisa Bull, another VP of activation at speed. “Especially for Barbie and MilkPEP, we had to adjust the motif to reflect the current environment for our audience. Together with our partners, we were able to act quickly and deliver amazing creatives with timely news. "

MilkPEP worked with Velocity to create a custom campaign that spanned 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Shot in February, they showed an Olympic hopeful skateboarder Bryce Wettstein Choreographed tricks and dance movements with children's dancers and professional BMX riders in a skate park. Velocity re-cuts the original spots and weaves a series of single shots to replace the group scenes. The final moments of the ad encouraged viewers: "Wherever you are, whatever you do … milk it."

"Less than a month ago, you didn't have to think twice about creating and sending an ad where kids skateboard and have fun together, but times have changed significantly," he explains Justin Kovics, VP and Group Creative Director at Velocity. "We had to make sure that the message our partners wanted to express is not deaf in the current climate of social distance, especially because children make up a large part of the audience at the Kids & # 39; Choice Awards."

"We are grateful for our partnership with Nickelodeon and the Campbell Ewald agency," said the CEO of MilkPEP Yin Woon Rani. "We were impressed with how quickly we were able to make changes to the spot to reflect social distancing and were a positive example of how we can reflect this behavior to this important audience."

DJ Livia and Mattels Barbie

Before COVID-19, the in-house branded content studio created custom content for Mattel Barbie®. The initial creation focused on a young girl, showed off her talents, and showed a group of kids dancing together for a performance of the 13-year-old DJ Livia. Given that schools are currently closed and social distancing measures have been taken, the content could confuse or alarm children. So Velocity recorded Remote Capture to record a message from DJ Livia explaining that the footage was previously recorded and encouraged her fans to stay inside.

"We use music to remind girls that they can be anything," says DJ Livia in the video. Then she reminded fans that "the game is never canceled".

“We really leaned on the power of DJ Livia as an influencer and real girl and used it to send a positive message to the audience who was preparing for the award ceremony, while ensuring that the brand's original message was not true get lost, ”says Jared Elliott, VP and Group Creative Director at Velocity.

According to Mattel, the updated motif enabled the brand to reinforce its message at a critical time. "The Barbie brand believes in the game, even in these difficult times," says Aimee London, Senior Director Marketing at Mattel. "By working with DJ Livia to improve our approach by celebrating at home, we were able to show girls that they can be anything, while celebrating imagination and social connection."

Continuation of the digital pivot

Nickelodeon's 33rd annual Kids’s Choice Awards were very different from all previous shows. It was a radical shift from a traditional awards ceremony filmed in front of children, families, and celebrities to one that was produced remotely with virtual celebrity cameos and musical performances at home. In another sign of nimble production, it showed commercial creativity that reflected the current state of the world.

As brands continue to adapt to the “new normal” caused by COVID-19, Velocity continues to find creative ways to adapt to and connect with the audience – even if they can't be in the same room together. From remote production to the spontaneous creation of relevant and meaningful content, the creative team continues to implement brand ideas.

"The store is closed by no imagination," says Sholley. "We are able to do things remotely and we are particularly well equipped for this moment."

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