4 Last-Minute Easter Marketing Campaign Ideas During the COVID-19 Pandemic


Easter Sunday is on April 12, 2020, and Passover is underway. And even though Spring is in play, this year there will be no Easter egg hunts and traditional celebrations. Here are a few ways marketers can prepare to reach audiences and cater to them, mindfully, while audiences and brands practice social distancing.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF)Opens a new window , in 2019, 8 in 10 U.S. adults planned to celebrate Easter with an average spend of $151 on clothes, candy, cards and flowers. The majority of them were 18- to 34-year-olds and 35- to 54-year-olds, and most planned to celebrate by visiting family/friends and cooking a holiday meal.

This year, NRF hasn’t published its annual consumer Easter survey results, since data was collected before the onset of the pandemic. However, NRF spoke to consumersOpens a new window in the first week of April about how they’re celebrating this year, and turns out nearly 4 out of 5 U.S. adults plan on finding ways to celebrate Easter this year! Here’s how:

Screengrab of NRF’s 2020 Easter Survey

Although Easter Sunday will be celebrated in a somber mood without the usual festivities and get togethers, Easter shopping will move online as we continue to maintain social distancing. So, online channels can expect some spikes in sales as well as essential businesses that continue to remain operational (such as grocers, drugstores, and merchants like Walmart and Target).

Nielsen’s recent studyOpens a new window showed that social distancing and staying home could lead to a 60% increase in the content people consume (especially on mobiles). This means understanding users’ mobile journeys is a great way to identify and tailor experiences that fit the changing lifestyle and purchase decisions.

To find out what’s in store this Easter, we spoke exclusively to Helen AboagyeOpens a new window , CMO of ImagenOpens a new window . She said, “The way brands and organizations use video to engage has been evolving rapidly, and in the wake of coronavirus, it’s now the primary way to reach audiences. With Easter Sunday coming and Passover underway, we also expect religious organizations to share sermons through video, either via livestream or on demand video content.”

According to online research conducted by software company, RemeshOpens a new window , 79% of participants want brands to make ads positive, caring, and inclusive, since people are scared and fragile. According to video advertising platform, Unruly’s studyOpens a new window of 2,556 global consumers, 49% want ads to be informative, while 37% prefer ads that make them feel warm/happy.

According to most other studies released in the last 30 days, TV consumption has increased drastically, people prefer receiving emails from brands as opposed to seeing ads on social media, and are even shopping for essentials from their smartphones. Digital and mobile usage are up, and that could be the next step to reach consumers effectively.

From this data, we can assume that this Easter, amidst the anxiety and uncertainty, the celebrations will happen, but they will look a little different. So, what can brands do to market right without being insensitive, this Easter?

Learn More: Your 2020 Crisis Marketing Strategy: Marketing Communication and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)Opens a new window

4 Easter Sunday Marketing Campaign Ideas

From the NRF data above, it’s clear, a home-cooked holiday meal might well be the most popular option this year, followed by meeting family and going to church virtually. Let’s look at what brands have already done this Easter and how you can be inspired to try an innovative approach to Easter marketing.

1. Make the best of a bad situation

Empathy is the most important feeling in a crisis. Brands need to understand how users are feeling and what they’re going through to create a story that will touch their audience. Many are self-quarantined alone or under lockdown in isolation, and a simple hug could mean the world right now. Building a story around that could be well-appreciated. It also won’t hurt to throw in some great deals, especially for candy, to sweeten the day.

Example: As millions face the possibility of not being able to meet and hug loved ones this Easter, candy maker, Russell Stover launched a two-part Easter campaign. On April 6, the brand launched an Instagram campaign called the Great Bunny Hunt. Users need to simply follow the brand on Instagram, tag a friend on each contest post, and submit all screenshots of bunnies from each post this week for the chance to win Russell Stover treats for a year and gift them to someone.


No matter the social distance, Easter is near and dear to our hearts. So this year, we’re keeping the tradition alive by bringing the hunt to you with #thegreatbunnyhunt 🐰 From April 6th-12th, we’ll be hiding chocolate bunnies in some of our Instagram posts. The person that ‘captures’ the most will win an entire YEAR of #russellstover chocolate for themselves and to gift a friend! 🙌⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ HOW IT WORKS:⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 1) We’ll hide a bunny in some, but not all, of our posts on Instagram. They’re cunning, so look close!⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 2) When you spot a bunny in a post, take a screenshot to ‘capture’ it. And don’t worry, no bunny will be harmed.⁣ ⁣⁣ 3) Submit all of your bunny screenshots at www.thegreatbunnyhunt.com (link in bio) by April 12th before midnight/EST– Make sure you’re on ‘hop’ of it!⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 4) Winner will be announced April 16th⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ HOW TO ENTER:⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 1) Follow @russellstoverus on Instagram⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 2) Tag a friend in a #thegreatbunnyhunt post⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ 3) Visit www.thegreatbunnyhunt.com to fill out the entry form and upload your screenshots. See link in bio to enter.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Happy Hunting! From the #russellstover Family ❤️#makehappy #contest ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ No Purchase Necessary. Void where prohibited. The Russell Stover Great Bunny Hunt Promotion is open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. and D.C., who are 18 or older. Starts 10:00am ET on 4/6/20 and ends at 11:59pm ET on 4/12/20. For Official Rules, visit www.thegreatbunnyhunt.com. Sponsored by Russell Stover Chocolates, LLCOpens a new window

A post shared by Russell StoverOpens a new window (@russellstoverus) on

The second part of the social media campaign was to let users send loved ones virtual hugsOpens a new window from a catalog created by Russell Stover for the occasion. The campaign #MakeHappy promotes virtual hugs at a time when social distancing is the norm.

Russell Stover’s #MakeHappy Campaign Promoting Virtual Hugs

Takeaways: The campaigns have garnered much success and engagement. At a time when most are indoors and away from family, the campaign hit home with virtual hugs that we could all send out right now.

Innovative, virtual games like Easter egg hunts are a great challenge for anyone looking to social media for entertainment and an escape from reality. They also double up an interactive game that require audience participation.

2. Give people what they need

Gifting is a big part of Easter celebrations and is an activity that makes both, the gift giver and receiver, feel good. You could encourage your audience to spread the joy of giving to loved ones or to someone in need. Offering an incentive to do so can really get the word out there.

Example: We could all use some positivity right now, and that’s exactly what apparel brand H&MOpens a new window has done for Easter 2020. For every gift card sent to loved ones on Easter Sunday, the brand is giving back a bonus 10% of the original value to the buyer. You can also customize gift cards and add personalized messages before sending them.

Source: CNN CouponsOpens a new window

H&M’s Easter Gift Card Offer

Customize Your H&M Gift Cards

Takeaways: Turning things around in times of uncertainty can have long term benefits. Everyone needs positivity right now, and you can help spread that. Helping users receive something in return is just the bonus push they need to take action in these uncertain times.

3. Focus on solving current problems

With most 18- to 34-year-olds and 35- to 54-year-olds living away from home or in nuclear families, many will not be able to share a meal with parents and grandparents this Easter. While most presumably will meet each other virtually, some might not be able to. Creating a heartfelt, relatable campaign about the possibilities of virtually meeting loved ones, while showcasing your product could be enough to make a lasting impact.

Example: Easter is a big holiday in Poland and Poles usually gather with family to enjoy Easter breakfast – unimaginable in these fraught times. Discount retail supermarket, BiedronkaOpens a new window , got agency Duda PolskaOpens a new window , to put together an ad sharing hope in tough times. They organized a remote shooting day and directed actors to record themselves at their homes. The recordings were then processed by the team working remotely. The final ad portrayed a family preparing the dining table and eating together even though they are in four different locations. You can watch the ad hereOpens a new window .  

A Still from Beidronka’s Ad

Takeaways: The brand showcased their products on each dining table but didn’t focus on it. Instead, the highlight was on each part of the family, setting the dining table, and sharing Easter Breakfast. That way, the focus is not on selling, but audiences know they can count on you for the essentials even on Easter, and it ensures your brand is remembered.

4. Be mindful of the times   

A recent Edelman reportOpens a new window showed that 65% of consumers agree that the way a brand responds to the pandemic will have a huge impact on their future purchases. Consumers are looking to brands for communication, solutions, and support. The brands that have taken a stand, contributed to resolving the crisis, and have been effectively communicating, will have loyal and trusting customers when all this is over. Meanwhile, brands should ensure they don’t go overboard with promotional content and be mindful of all and any messaging they put out.

Example: Cadbury launched an ad spot named High and Low that featured a grandfather hiding Easter eggs all around the house in anticipation of his grandchildren visiting for an Easter egg hunt. When they arrive, there are warm hugs exchanged. Cadbury pulled the heartwarming ad when Twitterati pointed out the brand needed to be more mindful of social distancing, especially involving children and seniors.

Cadbury’s High and Low Ad Spot

Takeaways: While the ad was created before the pandemic, it was released at a bad time. Cadbury immediately came out with a retraction, apologizing on Twitter. Some brands have chosen to go radio silent, but that’s not the best way to handle the situation either. Being active on digital channels, where most of the world has migrated, and reaching out to consumers with empathy around such special days can be the better way out.

Learn More: How Will Marketing Strategies Evolve in Times of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?Opens a new window

Going Forward

These strategies might not work for all industries, but they can certainly help you devise a marketing plan that’s empathetic, helpful, and memorable.

During the lockdown, families will likely be settling down to watch bank holiday TV, but the world of broadcast has been shaken up with live shows suspended indefinitely – at least those involving production outside the home – and all sporting events canceled. The best immediately available solutions have been the archives – an underexploited resource in the recent past – and esports. Leisure facilities have similarly harnessed archive content. Galleries, national parks, and museums will be leaning on their video management platforms to share archive content and open up their doors to virtually.

~ Helen Aboagye, CMO of Imagen, said exclusively to MarTech Advisor

Let’s look at some actionable tips to try out right now:

  1. Focus on communicating effectively about where you stand in the fight against the coronavirus.
  2. Focus on informing users, not aggressively promoting your Easter offers and deals. Make sure to spread the message with emotion.
  3. Create a solution related to your area of expertise that can help solve users’ problems. Focus on highlighting useful and relevant products.
  4. Connect with audiences and help bring them together, especially on the holiday.
  5. User-generated content works amazingly well during the holidays. Create a campaign to see how customers are using your brand’s products or services as part of their celebrations.

While you might not be able to spend the holiday with loved ones this year, focus on spreading kindness and love.

Happy Easter!

How are you marketing for Easter 2020? Tell us on Twitter,Opens a new window LinkedInOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window ; we’re listening!