The Coronavirus crisis has triggered some great creative thinking-and-making from the design community. In some ways that’s no surprise, big moments in history are typically a time when art, design and copywriting play a powerful role.

Alongside the now more or less ubiquitous banking ads making the the most of the Zoom call format (the first one in this format was OK but please stop it now, it’s not clever to just keep copying one another), there have been some truly creative ads and design appearing. Some are playful, some are powerful and some are well thought out imaginative responses to the strange world we find ourselves living in.

Here are just three of our favourites. Credits attached to all work.


Unofficial Guinness Ad by freelance copywriter, Luke O’Reilly

You may have seen this on social media. It’s been something of a sensation. It’s pure genius (as Guinness would say), completely nailing the aesthetic and playful spirit of the official Guinness ad campaigns but with the added irony that it’s not an official Guinness ad at all, just the brilliant output of Luke O’Reilly’s spare time.

If Luke can do this kind of work, Guinness, come on, appoint this guy to your creative roster. Guinness has actually credited the work and posted it to their official Instagram site, so at least they have recognised the elegance of the idea and the creative talent involved. Hopefully there’ll be some paid-for work coming Luke’s way at some point soon from Guinness HQ.

St Luke’s NHS unofficial STAY HOME NOW

More of a poster than an ad per se, Richard Denney, executive creative director of branding powerhouse St Luke’s, and his colleague Al Young, created this image at the end of March, in the early days of the Stay Home, Save Lives campaign.

The idea came to Richard following a radio broadcast in which he’d heard an exhausted NHS consultant pleading with the public to stay at home to avoid spreading the Coronavirus and over-stretching the NHS.

It proves the point that the simplest creative responses can also be the hardest hitting, capturing so much from its slight alternation of the instantly recognisable NHS branding. It has been used across many official NHS social feeds to help reinforce the messaging.

Secret Cinema and Haagen Dazs – Secret Sofa

Secret Cinema is something of a cultural phenomenon. It describes itself as a ‘fully immersive cinema experience’. For anybody who has attended one of their events, you’ll know how amazing these nights are. Guests are literally plunged into the world of the movie: amazing locations, brilliant costumes, an invitation to take centre stage by acting out parts, singing, dancing, yes, they think of everything with a vast attention to detail that creates instant fandom.

A friend attended the Moulin Rouge event in London a couple of years ago and announced it one of the most enjoyable and exciting nights out they’d ever had. And that was somebody who’s done their fair share of ‘big nights out’ around the world! So, how do you bring that magic to people during lockdown? Well, they’ve set up Secret Sofa, a subscription activity that brings classic movies to stream every Friday night, along with suggestions on how to dress, things to eat and drink and a number of other suggestions that can get you into the spirit of the movie you’re going to watch. There are hangouts to join that can take the experience further.

And to make it a tad more enjoyable, there’s also a free Haagen Dazs ice cream of the week to accompany the movie, delivered to your door by courier. Well, it will never take the place of the real thing but it’s a pretty cool response for those who are missing their hit of culture and cool!