COVID-19 Dos & Don'ts for advertising creatives

COVID-19 Dos & Don'ts for advertising creatives

April 29, 2020

By Dan Schunk, Director, Head of Creative Retail Ads at Walmart Media Group


Since the U.S. coronavirus outbreak began in mid-March, many Walmart advertisers have reached out to ask us for advice on advertising strategy and creatives. Brands understandably want to be sensitive and authentic while connecting effectively with customers in their hour of need.

The best practices below are based on Walmart research, industry guidance and customer behaviors.

DO be extra sensitive and use an abundance of caution in language, images, messaging, overall story choice and the products you're advertising.

DON'T use language, puns or jokes associated with illness in general or the pandemic such as "spread/spreading," "fever," "chills," "social distancing," "quarantine," "viral."

Pre COVID-19:


COVID-19 Sensitive:


DO remember: Many Americans are out of work and do not have the option to work remotely. Avoid messaging such as "WFH" and "staying home never looked so good."

DON'T reference cancelled events or large gatherings, whether sporting events, festivals or concerts.

DO choose a tone that's friendly, calm and supportive instead of overly excited or celebratory.


DON'T play into the fears and anxieties of American families. Avoid messaging such as "10 products you need to stay safe."

DO continue to use imagery of hero products, individuals, families, small groups and home and natural settings.


DON'T use images of large groups of people or of people who appear unwell. Avoid showing more than three people per creative.

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COVID-19 Dos & Don'ts for advertising creatives