ITV’s “Apart. But Never Alone” is the most moving coronavirus campaign in the UK so far according to new research from video ad tech company Unruly.

Unruly discovered that the broadcaster’s campaign, which featured Gordon Ramsay and Davina McCall urging people to stay at home, attracted the most intense positive emotions among ads created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a bid to gauge the motive impact of advertising during this time, Unruly, part of Tremor International, is measuring consumers’ emotional responses to brands’ COVID-19 campaigns using its emotional testing and targeting tool, UnrulyEQ.

ITV’s spot, created by creative shop Uncommon, finished top after 40.5% of viewers were intensely moved by the content — more than twice the UK norm. The NHS’s “Stay At Home” and Jack Daniels’ ”With Love, Jack” placed in second and third respectively.

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As well as generating intense emotions, ITV’s ad also left 39% of viewers having a more favourable view of the brand — 35% higher than the UK average. However, the ad that scored the highest for brand favourability was the NHS’s “Stay At Home’, which left more than half of viewers (53.7%) with a more favourable perception of the brand.

Apart. But Never Alone | Britain Get Talking | ITV

Rebecca Waring, Unruly’s Global VP, Insight & Solutions, said: “ITV’s ad resonated because people loved seeing celebrities and normal people coming together with one uplifting message.

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Viewer comments referred to the familiar faces in the video, and how genuine each person seemed, creating a sense of warmth and solidarity.

“In our UK consumer survey, nearly a quarter of people said they looked to brands to provide a sense of continuity, which explains why viewers found the familiar faces in ITV’s ad so reassuring. However, more than half of respondents didn’t remember the brand.”

Dove’s heartfelt campaign “Courage is Beautiful”, created by Ogilvy, Canada as a tribute to healthcare workers in North America, was fourth despite not being distributed in the UK, with Facebook in fifth.

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Waring added:

“From the results we’re seeing so far, COVID campaigns are more emotive than the norm. But advertisers need to be aware that many of the coronavirus ads we’ve seen so far feature similar messages and emotional tones, which may lead to viewer fatigue and low recall.”

In a recent consumer survey carried out by Unruly on the kind of content people wanted from brands during the pandemic, warmth and happiness were the most popular emotions, while almost half wanted content that was more informative.

Unruly analysed the emotional responses of 2,264 UK consumers to 16 Coronavirus campaign ads. The results were then ranked and compared to Unruly’s database of thousands of ads.