Keep Calm and Biden Won

Posted on by Guy Cookson

As the drama unfolded on election night in the US one canny brand found a way to turn all that attention to its advantage.

As the results slowly rolled in, and stress and tension mounted across the nation, a small on-screen advert for an app called Calm appeared.

Calm offers mindful meditations, peaceful sounds and sleep stories. It has been downloaded over 50 million times.

Calm paid to sponsor CNN’s “Key Race Alerts” as well as 30 second ads shown during the breaks.

The ads featured rain gently falling on leaves – taken from a longer eight hour video the company uploaded to YouTube – which was created to help people sleep.

At the same time Calm posted advice on social media about how to relax during moments of stress.

This was all in stark contrast to the breathless drama happening around it.

Judging by the App Store rankings the campaign seems to have worked, as it climbed 20 places in the Top 100 and reached number one in the US Health and Fitness category in the days afterwards.

“We understand the uncertainty of this election cycle can be a source of anxiety for many of us, especially as it coincides with an ongoing pandemic,” Erin Hassey, senior director of growth marketing at Calm explained.

“Our goal during CNN’s Key Race Alerts was to provide viewers a moment of Calm, and a reminder to take a deep breath during a stressful night.”

In a world increasingly obsessed with micro targeting ad placements to specific users based on their interests and behaviours, this campaign was a genius example of reaching a mainstream audience in a contextually relevant way.

As it turns out the election campaign Calm ran is only a small part of an advertising arsenal the company has been refining for a number of years.

This includes partnerships with the likes of LeBron James and a huge investment in both social media and App Store advertising.

It all leads to a brilliantly designed app sign-up process that begins with a simple blue screen and the words, “take a deep breath.”


A version of this article was published as part of a weekly column by Guy Cookson on marketing, design, trends and strategy in the Lancaster Guardian, Blackpool Gazette and Lancashire Post. See our brand, web design and marketing recent projects.

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