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A Crafty Week 02

How to build relationships in the virtual world

Finally, the time came on Monday night when the UK went into lockdown. 27 million viewers tuned in across the BBC and ITV to Boris’ 8:30pm update, hammering home on one point, #stayin. As a TV viewing event, it was one of the most watched live broadcasts in UK Television history, just behind the 1966 World Cup Final and Princess Diana’s Funeral. We had already started to see huge shifts in peoples behaviours and media consumptions but now and for the coming weeks we expect these effects to be even more pronounced.

Business, People and… Dogs

Whilst researching for this week’s newsletter it became very apparent that it would be difficult to write without referring to the coronavirus, it is a seismic event with huge impacts on all walks of life as we know it. Out of this adversity there are lots of positive shifts in behaviour and society that we should definitely be celebrating. Businesses have been forced to close this week and many are attempting to rapidly pivot in new ways to support their customers and their staff. From small local restaurants offering a wider range of products over and above their regular menu items to food wholesalers shifting from B2B to B2C offerings.

For those of us at home, working or otherwise, we have probably never got so much value out of paying our rent or mortgages, we just hope that this doesn’t continue for too many months so that we can ensure we are all able to feel secure. I don’t know about you, but I am starting to feel like I am living the life of ‘Polly Pocket’ doing a daily figure of 8 around the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and garden.

According to the ‘Tooting Coronavirus Facebook group’ nearly 80% of Tooting have become qualified dog walkers offering their services. There have also been huge surges in dog (and cat) adoption and temporary re-housing. As dog walking becomes one of the few reasons to leave the house, we may become even more grateful for our furry friends and the companionship they offer in a difficult time. In such a strange time it is certainly looking to be a boom time for some pet care businesses.

A day in the life of ‘Virtual Culture’

Suddenly most physical service we have been used to, without a thought are closed or have changed how we use them. The focus for those who are connected to internet (over 5 million people still aren’t in the UK) is ensuring that services can be bought into our homes to feed demand for all these things from visiting the gym to the Royal Academy. Many are finally welcoming a world of virtual consumption into their homes. Some might say, it’s about time. Every choice we make is completely intuitive, because everything is within arm’s reach, it is an interesting thought for marketers advertisers alike as we start to think and plan for communications strategies down the line.

We have been talking about this a lot this week at Craft and considered some of the impact on our lives:

9am: The day begins with an update on who has tuned in for Joe wicks PE for kids (along with 3.5 million others according to The Guardian), and our resident PT, Anna, is training clients before a day at Craft through FaceTime. In-home fitness has seen a dramatic growth over the last year with ‘intuitive exercise’ now a hit trend. With gyms, personal trainers and fitness brands bringing workouts around the clock, those who are up for some exercise are more spoilt for choice than ever

10am: Meanwhile, the future of our country is being home schooled in different ways including via online learning platforms. Melpo’s kids have been doing virtual drama lessons and one school in Clapham recorded their first virtual choir practice.

Midday: Now that we have so much time at home, it’s the perfect time to find our inner Nigella. Bread Ahead bakery have started streaming cookery classes for free, live to the kitchen. Restaurants and food services could leverage this time spent at home to bring their recipes straight into the home (Really hoping this from Kricket)!

3pm:Museums, orchestras and galleries are creating virtual sessions and tours, so now we can take a trip to Tate Modern without having to take a whole afternoon up of our time. has been set up to celebrate art from all over the world, showcasing talent and bringing people together at a time when we need each other the most.

After work: Don’t worry, not just another night in.Tonight at 6pm, BrewDog will open the virtual doors of 102 online pubs to the whole world. Every single BrewDog Bar in the UK, Germany, Australia and USA will have its own online session for a chance for locals and regulars to connect. They play host to events including live beer tasting, quizzes, music and comedy. Make sure you tune in on Instagram and Twitter to find out more about how you can hang out with these communities.

Looking ahead, the virtual world is not as isolating as maybe we had often thought before coronavirus, or the new BC as some are referring to it. Utilising VR and video won’t mean zero community, isolation or describe being engrossed in a solo-player video game. Politico suggests that coronavirus may have just shown us how devices build community because most businesses and services have had to think long and hard about ‘what can I authentically offer virtually’. Delivering services into people’s homes has enabled the socially distanced to have an independent and active choice on how, when and where we schedule things in our day. A virtual after-work drinks might mean you can still be there to feed your kids dinner, whilst chatting with friends. And if you are running low on wine do try the wineapp and use code SF551 for £15 off your first order!

Has online dating self-fulfilled its prophecy?

Speaking of hanging out, we have been wondering will dating continue in the virtual world and can it work? Last year dating apps started to fall under a lot of criticism, following negative accounts of the users and also the sheer lack of luck for those trying to find a partner. It seemed a bit strange to read that one Icelandic dating app has asked user to select options to verify if they have had the virus, shown symptoms or quarantined. However, in light of safety being the key motivator at the moment, the app is showing great responsibility and demanding it of its users. Now that we are shut indoors with very limited physical contact with others, is this a dead end for dating in the short-term? Certainly, PornHub (safe Mashable story here) think so who have made their premium offering free worldwide to help self-isolation.

Alternatively, and like with other ‘enforced’ transformations in behaviour will the ‘single and ready to mingle’ crowd jump at the chance of virtual dating? It could certainly save money!

If the cast of Love is Blind (available on Netflix) can get hitched after just hearing a voice behind a curtain, what will stop anyone falling at their feet over Zoom? Grazia suggests two new ways to online date with zero human contact; Netflix and chat, where you agree on a Netflix series and chat about it on the app after. Finding out about what people watch is a great way to assess if you are suited, and at least gives you something interesting to talk about. Secondly, video dating is an obvious option. Guardian Blind Dates has just put out a call for people interested in a cheeky takeout and an online video date.

In other, more Romantic news, from Milan, where lockdown happened weeks ago, a recently matched couple on a dating app are finding new and exciting Romeo and Juliet occasions to meet up (pushing some of the lockdown’s boundaries – but we will let them off for love!)

Seen on Screen: Zoom, Houseparty, Tiktok

For many of us we are having to become very familiar with Zoom, even if we can’t all get the background to change. Not surprisingly, the virus outbreak has supercharged demand for the tech company’s video-chat service.As the founder of Zoom’s net worth increases by $2 billion as a result of coronavirus, we can only be thankful that we have access to such clever technology during these times. Last week’s newsletter touched on Craft’s tips to adapting WFH through Zoom. It was only a matter of time before its capabilities benefited other needs. As yearly events such as Mother’s Day and birthdays become celebrated virtually through Zoom, grabbed our attention. A London based party entertainer saved the day by taking Little Harry’s Frozen party on to Zoom FaceTime et al, two celebrations in particular and when Christie and Jeff, a couple from the US, were robbed of their Nordic wedding, they invited their guests to live stream the event from everyone’s living rooms through Zoom, pass me the tissues.

But perhaps it is HouseParty (bought by Fortnite creators Epic Games in 2019- they having. Great time, aren’t they?) which allows you to virtually hang out with mates from your own living rooms, whilst playing games that is really having its moment. Having not made the top 1000 apps, it is now in the top 10 in the US. Quoted by Vogue as ‘the quarantine app you must download immediately’, it is getting generations all over the country connected, united and smiling. One of the Vogue team reported they had moved their Vogue production meeting from Zoom to HouseParty, with a speed-round fashion quiz, which they are using it to give everyone’s children virtual lessons on fabulous female designers. This uniting of generations through tech to connect, educate, entertain and inspire is remarkable.

To quote Craft Founder, Jen, “My daughter keeps asking me, ‘Mummy, why can’t adult’s TikTok?’” Adults, babies, kids, grandparents, the quarantined, dogs… anyone, if you haven’t downloaded TikTok yet, now is the time. We touched on this in the last newsletter and it certainly growing in use and understanding from more than just dancing teenagers. The light-hearted fun it can bring to a household and social online community is immense. As marketeers start to regain confidence in readdressing their consumers and maintaining presence, branded TikTok challenges could be one of the key routes in to engage the ‘living room’ life (e.g. most people). Even luxury brands like Ralph Lauren are tapping into the hype. It was one of the first brands to use TikTok’s shoppable Hashtag Challenge Plus feature to show off its collection for the 2019 US open Tennis tournament.

Striving for continued unity

Last night the whole of the UK gathered on their doorsteps for a harmonious applause that roared the streets of Britain. The biggest standing ovation in decades to #clapforourcarers working tirelessly on the frontline fighting the virus day in and day out A couple of weekly frees have done their bit this week to help reassure and bring humour to the public, whilst reminding everyone to unite and stay safe. For the first time in Evening Standard’s 193-year history of serving the capital, they launched their home delivery service on Monday night, where by the print edition is being delivered direct to homes across parts of Zones 2 and 3. ‘By your side in the Crisis’, ES will endeavor to provide updated information and healthcare advice on coronavirus, whilst re deploying street distributors at risk from contact with the public to be part of the home delivery service network. Similarly, Timeout, London’s destination for keeping up to date about what’s ‘buzzing’ in the Capital has re branded to ‘Time In’ with their mission to ‘bring a little bit of London into your living room’. They will provide a comprehensive round up of the best takeaways, best films and music to stream, whilst still sharing the love for everything in London.

In one of our Zoom meetings this week, we ‘Crafties’ discussed whether brands could be helping to push the public service message of #stayin through booked OOH. Doing their bit to nudge society to do the right thing. There was much debate around this and general consensus was if you have the means to do it, why wouldn’t you? Of course, things change very rapidly, and since this chat we are now in lockdown, so hopefully people don’t need such a united nudge.

Despite Coca-Cola deciding to freeze all UK ad spend for the foreseeable future, their rather naff ad in Time Square telling the empty street to ‘stay home’ did get its PR moment having beenbroadcast and talked about on BBC. If you’re thinking of separating your logo. Please just don’t. More tactfully, Channel 4 are making the most of the ‘living room life’ and pushing the prominent public health message of ‘stay home’ during all broadcasting throughout the crisis.

Trend Watching has reported this week a remarkable story about how the tech company NIVIDA is urging gamers to download an app allowing them to lend spare computing power from GPUs (graphic processing units) to support research for coronavirus. Identifying the unique ways, a tribe of people can contribute to a solution can drive cut through of message and ensure it resonates with them.

Last week, The Guardian documented a diary of one primary school head, Tony Davies, recording a week of uncertainty, and then closure. The end of this piece was very moving and perfectly articulates how despite social distancing and self-isolation, we are more united than ever, ‘When I reflect on the last week, what gives me hope is how often I’ve seen people being supportive, kind and understanding. We’re in uncharted waters but I know I’ve got the most amazing team of people around me – everyone from our office staff, teaching assistants and teachers to our parents and kids. The strength of our community has been really uplifting and heartwarming. We were already a really close-knit community school, but this has brought us that much closer together.’

Key stats: COVID-19 Media marketing round up

TV overall, viewing is up by about 40% and pricing is down 40%.

  • ITV have shown that over the last three weeks linear and VOD viewing has been up by 40%.

  • Channel 4 -1634’s viewing grew 109% w/c 16th

Radio - Connected devices reach up 15% in the last 10 days across Global

Radio - Connected devices listening hours up 9% in the last 10 days across Global

Podcast listening has increased by 9.8%.

Spotify podcast listening has increased particularly across self-improvement (wellness, meditation) and entertainment content (fitness, comedy).

Craft have been collating a brands response to Covid-19 and have built around the framework shared by BBH labs to offer guidance to clients on how to behave. If any of our friends and clients would like to see this please get in touch.

A Crafty Thumbs up

Its times like this when you start to notice some of the amazingly positive and socially empowering things going on in society, as well as taking a minute just to notice there is some seriously cool innovations out there. Here is our montage of thumbs up for this week

Brand campaign to look out for

Podcast to listen to

Just cool stuff

Tube map searches since Corona Virus

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