Through New Year's Day, we're counting down the best brand ideas and campaigns of the year.
Facebook’s poignant film by Droga5 was an example of a pandemic ad done right. Featuring both user-generated and photojournalistic footage of a world ravaged by COVID-19, it broke at the end of March as we were all reeling from its first wave and encapsulated some of the scenes, such as healthcare workers and empty shelves, that would soon become familiar tropes. Yet the decision to set it all to a stirring spoken word track by British poet Kate Tempest helped it to rise above the sea of emotional sameness.
Today on Facebook, founder Mark Zuckerberg posted “Never Lost,” a poignant film that splices together moving scenes of a world ravaged but not destroyed during the epidemic, set to a stirring spoken word track by British poet Kate Tempest.
The film, created out of Droga5 in partnership with Facebook's marketing team, is a pastiche of the harrowing and the hopeful—along with deserted streets and public spaces, we see images of those who continue to forge on—a doctor whose face is bruised with mask marks, a paramedic hunched over in the back of an ambulance and exhausted medical workers taking a lighthearted dance break during their shifts. There are heartbreaking moments too: patients suffering alone in their hospital beds, loved ones separated by lengths—or glass. But all is not lost as we see the upside, like families and friends bonding remotely and musicians playing out their windows to entertain the isolated masses.
Tying it all together is Tempest’s soulful voice reciting her 2019 poem “People’s Faces” to an emotive piano track:
Was that a pivotal historical moment
We just went stumbling past?
Here we are
Dancing in the rumbling dark
So come a little closer
Give me something to grasp
Give me your beautiful, crumbling heart
"We're never lost if we can find each other," the end copy reads.
The film consists of real content, both user-generated and photojournalistic, documenting the fallout of the pandemic and the efforts around it. It introduces Facebook’s Community Help Platform at facebook.com/covidsupport where users can offer or request aid from neighbors for tasks like grocery delivery or food distribution. There, they can also donate to or set up their own fundraisers to support relief efforts. The spot will be running on national and local broadcast as well as on digital advertising channels.
Previously, Facebook and a host of other brands teamed up with the Ad Council on a federal coronavirus public service campaign. It also recently pledged to direct $100 million to help news organizations remain viable in the face of the economic fallout of the pandemic.