What’s up Belgium?

Account Strategist

Salony Saxena

21 Apr 2020

For a few weeks now, we've been living in a rather strange situation. A lot of people have found a fitting (work) rhythm and feel more or less adjusted to this new reality. In the midst of this, we are taking a moment to take a look at what's going on in Belgium and the Netherlands, because while we might be neighbours, there are some striking differences in how we live and advertise at the moment.

‘Blijf in uw kot’

We’re happy to see that, in Belgium, the various measures are remarkably well followed. People are staying at home and they only come out for the most essential of things. Anyone who is still at work and has to go to work by car must have an official certificate from their employer. If someone risks being on the road for a non-essential movement, this can result in a minimum fine of € 250. The message of the Belgian Minister of Public Health, Maggie De Block, has been very clear since the beginning of the crisis: 'Blijf in uw kot’ - a colloquial way of saying ‘Stay home, for God’s sake’. By now, this has become a legendary statement that just about everyone in Flanders knows, with all kinds of memes being created and the hashtag #blijfinuwkot trending.

Big shift

While we’re all staying at home (for a very good reason), the advertising sector is taking a bit of hit: "(...) roughly 50 to 60 percent of all advertising campaigns for the coming months have been cancelled by advertisers in recent weeks," according to Marc Fauconnier, chairman of ACC Belgium, the professional association of advertising agencies, in this article. "On average, people are two to three fifths at work. There is at least half-time technical unemployment in the whole branch. That's the very first time since I've been in the business that this happens. There's just no economic activity anymore."

In any case, there has been a big shift, visible in all streets and towns: almost all billboards along roads or at bus stops in Belgium have now been replaced by informative messages from the government, actively calling to the population to stay at home. The government brings this message not only on the streets, but also online. On Instagram, you get sponsored messages from the federal public health service. The Flemish government also communicates via #IkRedLevens via various channels. On YouTube, you get to see a link that directs you to the latest information issued by our government and, if that wasn’t enough, they are even present on TikTok!

We've been busy!

At Dorst & Lesser, we had to adapt quickly for our Belgian customers, as we had to for all our clients. We couldn’t be happier with the trust we have received from our clients and we continue to work hard, develop strategies, adjust course and create content for them. To what result, you might wonder? Just read along.

For Renault, we've called on the Facebook community to share their Heritage Stories, recalling people’s fond memories of their iconic cars. In both sides of the country, Dutch and French speaking, this resulted in a lot of enthusiasm from the community.

Going from memories to inspiration, for Nikon, we’ve been focusing on inspiring the community, sharing beautiful photo series of Belgian photographers such as Nick Hannes and Christophe Vander Eecken. We also put a focus on UGC, under the hashtag #CreateYourLight where we continue to share the best tips to get creative at home.

For Jägermeister, we had to get creative. As you can imagine, normally, Jägermeister is the party starter, but right now, as a brand, it’s so important to communicate a responsible message. So with Jägermeister, we’re advising people to #StayAtHome, but with some great tips to have a great time at home!

Finally, we worked out a lot of fun Instagram Story content for LolaLiza, a Belgian fashion brand. With the brand’s in-house designers and stylists, and guest designers, we set up a few Instagram Story formats where the community gets showered with tips, tricks and answers.

So as you can see, we've been busy! We believe that social media is more important than ever for each of our customers. Right now, everyone is on social and, with the right approach, this is the moment to connect with your community and make the best of it together.

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