Tackling COVID-19 with content marketing

How does a chef make an impact when restaurants are closed? How does an empty gallery share the glory of the arts? How can sport be celebrated when events are cancelled?

In times of crisis, investing in marketing will ensure you are better equipped to bounce back in the recovery. While COVID-19 poses an existential threat, swift pivots in service delivery paired with creative marketing and PR, have seen some brands develop, despite odds stacked against them.

Attica – Ben Shewry

Attica is iconic. It gives the world’s most devoted foodies a dining experience that is replicated nowhere else, offering meals with an edge of weirdness: like vegemite scrolls and meat pies; or ants and foraged herbs.

But it can’t operate how it used to anymore. As Melbourne restaurants were forced to close their doors, Head Chef Ben Shewry needed to rebrand. He quickly launched the online “Attica At Home” menu. A cheaper, simplified take on the restaurant’s $300+ degustations, it allowed Shewry to vastly broaden Attica’s customer base. People have been thrilled to get a taste of the famous fare and have been prompted to do so by Shewry’s various low-budget content marketing initiatives.

Shewry staged a series of irreverent Insta-live cooking sessions with the likes of comedian Hamish Blake and musician Briggs. He partnered with Lune Croissanterie (another Melbourne institution) to create a custard-soaked pastry pudding named ‘Dave’ and, most recently, planned a free virtual dance party with The Avalanches, for which he has been posting recipes so you can cook party food at home.

Shewry never uses forceful marketing. None of these initiatives are asking anyone to eat at Attica. But they are reminding people how special the restaurant is whilst opening it up new audiences.

He is one of many chefs using Instagram to share their talents with the world in this difficult time. Jock Zonfrillo has hosted cook-alongs, (insisting participants wear tartan) and Frank Prisinzano offers intimate tutorials of his cooking methods.

NGV – Tony Ellwood

“We are no longer temples to the elite” said Tony Ellwood to the Financial Review, as he returned to take the reigns at NGV.

A self-confessed populist, he was eager to make sure no one felt alienated. This involved big blockbuster exhibitions, live music, interactive art rooms for kids (and playful adults) and a wine bar. Under his helm, NGV became the most visited gallery in Australia. But of course, now there are no visitors at all – well, no physical ones anyway.

During COVID-19 Ellwood is doubling down on activities that bring art to the masses.

#NGVEveryday has reached more than 14.5 million people on social media, offering daily content that celebrates the gallery’s collections and artists. The website features a regularly expanding suite of content that includes free virtual exhibition tours and talks, drop-by drawing video tutorials and a lot more.

Families can download kids’ activity sheets and games, and there are online learning resources for teachers and students learning from home.

For those wanting a more in-depth experience there are plenty of paid courses too.

The gallery’s digitisation champions its populist values, reminding Australians why the NGV is one of its most vital cultural institutions.

Formula 1

With sporting events currently being put on hold, or operating in an altered form, the Formula 1 have devised a way to give fans a fix of racing, despite a delayed race calendar.

Virtual races ran in place of every postponed Grand Prix, with drivers attending remotely through the F1 2019 PC video game. It was a clever spot of cross-promotion, and an opportunity to leverage the success of E-sports while traditional sport takes a COVID-19 hit.

To extend the fun for fans, F1 hosted online exhibition races, where people from around the world were given the chance to complete with F1 drivers.

Pesel & Carr

These unique branded experiences have enabled audiences to connect with brands at a time of rapid disconnect. It’s creating a new era of communication.

Although we don’t share the cultural influence of NGV, the cooking ability of Ben Shewry or the excitement of Formula 1, we do share an appreciation for content marketing. Through producing weekly content in the form of 47 we stay a part of the conversation and remind our friends of the things that matter to us.


Who let the dogs out!

I admit it. In my last 47 column I engaged in some excessive howling. It isn’t like me to be overly judgmental, but I couldn’t help but resent the smug entitlement that cats radiate as they exert their freedom on this lockdown inflicted dog.

I’ve taken time to dwell on it. Complaining doesn’t really help anyone. There are still dogs all over Melbourne confined to one hour’s walk a day. So, I’ve sniffed out something that I think may help. A list of tricks to help burn your dog’s energy during lockdown!

Soon we won’t have to endure watching cats saunter past our windows. We’ll either be too busy playing, or too busy sleeping to notice!

1. Tug-of-war

For many dogs, nothing quite beats a good run. But in lockdown, not all properties have the space to facilitate the amount of running we desire. To prevent a cat-hungry escape, chase and tug games are excellent at letting out all that energy. Grab any soft toy and initiate a game of tug-of-war. Let your dog win for extra points.

2. Treat dispensing toys

I can chew on my leg for hours. While satisfying, it isn’t the most stimulating activity. Dogs have active minds, and mental stimulation is important. Treat dispensing toys act as puzzles that enable us to exercise and eat at the same time. Nice!

3. Dog parks

With only one hour of exercise, lets use it wisely! I’m not talking about a leashed walk to the milk bar. Hit the dog park, unleash your dog and watch them go. Socialising with other dogs is a great way to achieve physical and mental stimulation.

Any other tips you’d like me to fetch? DM me on Instagram and I’ll run them by Barbara!

Contact us to learn more about content marketing in COVID-19.