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More than window dressing: how CosmosDirekt helped German small business survive lockdown

More than window dressing: how CosmosDirekt helped German small business survive lockdown
Written by publishing team

CosmosDirekt won Best Use of Location at the Drum Awards for Out Of Home in 2021, with a location-specific project that provides income to closed local businesses while telling the stories of shopkeepers. Here, the team behind the campaign explains the inspiration behind it, and the strategy used to create the lifeline of this pandemic.

The Covid-19 shutdown has particularly affected our favorite convenience stores, where many livelihoods are at risk. The German Retail Association (HDE) expects the loss of up to 120,000 stores, with dire consequences for city centers.

CosmosDirekt’s brand promise – to “protect what you love” – ​​couldn’t be more socially connected than it has been during the pandemic crisis. This was a perfect opportunity to fulfill that promise, through effective and direct assistance.


To help stores that are suffering in a quick and direct way, we have reserved their abandoned store windows as paid advertising space. This is how “Ads for Good” was born.

They have provided a unique way to realize the promise of our CosmosDirekt brand in small shop windows in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin and Saarbrücken. We focused especially on all the lovable little shops behind which there is no big company – freelancers like hairdressers, small fashion stores, restaurants, bars, toy stores and many more.

Strategy and Execution

The strategy behind “Ads for Good” was as unconventional as the idea itself. Media planning was one of the biggest challenges, because there was clearly no classic media planning for booking storefronts. The only way was by exploring the site and random calling or emailing the stores.

We reached out to shopkeepers in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt and Saarbrücken to see if we could support them. Once our first store windows were covered with our ads and media money was paid to the owners, our goal was to reach as many people as possible with the message behind it. We’ve also asked people on social media to share their favorite stores with us, so we can help those next.

numbers and results

From February 16 through early April 2021, 110 stores participated, and each shop received €1,000 for a ten-day reservation from the store window – for a total of €110,000.

We focused not only on our message on the shop windows, but on the stories and faces behind those windows. With images of emotional interviews from five shopkeepers, we’ve expanded the campaign to include social media, online video, display ads, and prime-time television ads. In this way, we have created about 35,000,000 media contacts and drawn additional attention to the challenges facing small stores, and we have also turned our brand promise into a call to action for the whole of Germany.

Additionally, our campaign was reported to the press and media nationwide, thus taking our campaign even further with 70 mentions and an additional potential reach of 11 million contacts.

In addition to the press echo, social media showed that the message behind “Ads for Good” reached thousands of people who liked, shared and commented on the campaign (over 25,000 likes).

So above all, these results reflect the emotional outcome: the ads became messages of hope and courage, confirming the CosmosDirekt mantra once again.

Relevancy and influence

There are few ideas where the purpose of the brand is directly related to the idea and vice versa. The slogan “Protect what you love” has become not only an inspiration for “Ads for Good”, but against the backdrop of the pandemic, it has become an important and timely message. This message applies not only to small stores experiencing closure, but to these difficult times in general. Our brand promise couldn’t be more relevant to the zeitgeist.

And to be able to demonstrate and affirm it in this way through “advertisements for good” and, above all, help directly and effectively, fills us with joy and pride. Because it’s about more than just an advertising campaign. It’s about a brand that truly stands by people who have a living promise.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Out Of Home. To find out more, including competitions currently open for entry, Visit the Drum Awards website.


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