Reimagining an Advertising Campaign in the Shadow of a Pandemic

  • Categories:

    Creative, Work

  • Date:

    October 12, 2021

Reimagining an Advertising Campaign in the Shadow of a Pandemic

Creative Work

Palmetto Bluff is a planned community situated on 20,000 acres deep in the heart of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Characterized by swaying marsh grasses, lazy intracoastal rivers and century-old live oak trees strung with Spanish moss, Palmetto Bluff also acts as a steward for the land it occupies through its commitment to ecological and environmental conservancy.

While this serene enclave — complete with several residential neighborhoods and a superlative resort — thrives on wide-open spaces and natural beauty, Palmetto Bluff still needs to promote all it has to offer to future homebuyers and vacationers. Working with Wray Ward, they conceptualized, developed, approved and scheduled an advertising campaign — but no one could prepare for what came next.

“The concept we had originally planned for the March 2020 photo and video shoot focused on a group of friends reuniting at Palmetto Bluff,” said Heather Dumford, Wray Ward’s associate creative director. “But with the sudden change in societal norms due to COVID-19 — like social distancing and limitations on gathering sizes — showcasing a group together suddenly seemed very tone deaf.”

Given the unexpected circumstances and unknowns about the spread of COVID-19 at the time, Wray Ward and Palmetto Bluff agreed to delay the shoot indefinitely. As the months passed, the pandemic continued to change people’s behaviors. This included many leaving densely populated urban centers for the open air of country living, along with extended families hunkering down together to help each other weather the pandemic.

Watching these behavior shifts in real time, Heather said the lightbulb went off for how to pivot the Palmetto Bluff advertising campaign: Change the focus to a multigenerational family enjoying the outdoor activities and natural wonderment of Palmetto Bluff, while also bonding with each other.

“Palmetto Bluff provides its residents with this incredible experience of being truly immersed in nature, with the open space to roam, play, wander and explore,” Heather said. “Capturing a diverse, multigenerational family in that setting gives Palmetto Bluff the marketing assets it needs to promote the community as an escape from our current pandemic climate, but also an advertising message that represents a more normalized experience we will all hopefully return to in the near future.”

The shoot was rescheduled for October 2020, and the Wray Ward team went about the important work of casting the family members and scouting Palmetto Bluff for opportunities to best showcase the benefits of connecting with nature and living in a place where you can spend each day with purpose, wonder and curiosity.

The team developed vignettes of a Palmetto Bluff homeowner’s daily life involving their family — from a grandfather fishing with his granddaughter to a father and his children exploring the community by bike and a mother escaping it all on a solo paddleboard adventure.

“Our goal for the video and photography was to feature the transformative power that Palmetto Bluff has on each person who is lucky enough to visit — to showcase the truly unique balance of wildness and refinement that can only be found there,” noted Heather. “To accomplish this, we designed our shoot to capture these intimate snapshots of family life on Palmetto Bluff, brief moments of people enveloped in these multisensory experiences that become magnified by sharing them with the ones you love.”

The campaign launched in January 2021, providing Palmetto Bluff with advertising assets that fully captures the feeling of being part of the Palmetto Bluff community. Whether experienced for a day or a lifetime — it never leaves you. The creative work and the beauty of Palmetto Bluff can tell you the rest of the story.

If you’re interested in learning how Wray Ward can help share your brand’s story with the world, email Heather.

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