Just five months ago, admitting to being a jigsaw-lover would have filled me with embarrassment. Now, however, like many others, I have had to turn to the humble puzzle to pass the time while stuck indoors on a rainy day - and I have to say that I am loving it. Not only do they keep me occupied and take my mind off the real world, but I also love the sense of achievement you get when you finally fill in that last piece to complete the masterpiece.
And this is why I love what McDonald's and Heinz have done here. You would never associate either brand with a jigsaw puzzle, but somehow it seems like such a good idea. Not only are they raising brand awareness during the pandemic, they are also helping to bridge the gap with their consumers, offering a new way to satisfy customers (in absence of the regular trip to the Golden Arches) when they need it most. Instead of giving us comfort food, they're giving us comfort mood.
According to recent research from Kantar, the top three things that consumers want from brands in the current climate is: to talk about how the brand is helpful in the new everyday (77%), to keep them informed about the brand’s reaction to the new situation (75%), and to offer a reassuring tone (70%) - and what's more reassuring than a puzzle!
In sending out these quirky communications, which happen to be extremely shareable and great for social media engagement, the brands are reassuring customers that they are still in their thoughts during this difficult time, whilst also making sure that they are front and centre in our minds when things go back to normal.
McDonald's and Heinz are both looking to create an entertainment outlet for consumers whose options are severely limited as shelter-in-place orders stretch on for months. The brands have the opportunity to provide a welcome distraction for those shut in due to the coronavirus outbreak, while still raising their company profiles at a time when more people are ordering delivery and takeout or pantry-loading packaged food products with a long shelf life.