Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Marketing in the Age of COVID

 

Fellow Ricocheter @drbastiat published a post that prompted some topic-adjacent thinking about the directional and tonal shift I’ve seen in the marketing and advertising world this year.

As a marketing strategist who leads creative productions of all kinds, I greatly respect the process and the artists involved in writing, conceptualizing, filming, editing, etc. Commercials, magazines, billboards, articles, blog posts, company brochures, and even direct mail (yes, even that) have often sparked inspiration for one of my own projects.

The writer and filmmaker in me pays particular attention to commercials because, as mini stories, I like to see how the storytelling is (or in some cases, isn’t) accomplished in 30-60 seconds. Until this year, I intentionally watched commercials instead of fast-forwarding through them.

One of the things I tell clients ad nauseam is this: Consider your audience, and make sure your message is on point for that audience.

Most who take that advice to heart are businesses that have a real stake in and are part of the community/audience they’re trying to reach. Until recently, I would say that 80% of our clients were very intentional with their messaging and branding, making sure it resonated with the intended audience. However, I have seen a shift in the last few years where even the community-focused businesses we work with are more focused on exhibiting that “sense of social virtue” and checking off all the boxes.

Is the commercial/ad/brochure, etc. appropriately diverse?

Did we remove any overt or even mere suggestion of a religious holiday?

Have we built in the right level of social awareness and pressure?

This year I’ve found myself fast forwarding or muting the commercials. They’re just not as creative as they used to be and, quite frankly, they’re all just trying to out-do each other on their level of wokeness.

The big a-ha for me has been the Covid-themed commercials that have been produced this year. Advertisers are selling us acceptance of what our pandemic responses are doing to this country and the world. See for yourself:

May 20, 2020: The 8 Best Ads From the Coronavirus Lockdown, So Far

May 28, 2020: How Marketers Responded to the Coronavirus in the First Three Months

COVID-19 Minded TV Ads

From Ads of the World: COVID-19 Ads

This compilation film by YouTuber Sean Haney puts all the COVID-19 cliches into one big supercut:

I long for the day when I can once again “enjoy” watching commercials without groaning and rolling my eyes.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 7 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. JoelB Member

    Oh so warm and fuzzy.

    • #1
    • October 16, 2020, at 6:58 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. Charlotte Member
    CharlotteJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The supercut video gives me the willies, especially the piano music. Yikes. I know that every industry goes through fads, but this is creepy.

    • #2
    • October 16, 2020, at 8:18 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    The supercut video gives me the willies, especially the piano music. Yikes. I know that every industry goes through fads, but this is creepy.

    Right there with you @charlotte.

    • #3
    • October 16, 2020, at 8:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. James Lileks Contributor

    Advertising is just a name for the things we think we are doing together, except we’re all doing them alone.

    • #4
    • October 16, 2020, at 11:23 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Front Seat Cat Member

    Ads used to be funny, catchy, teary, and memorable. In fact, people still hum theme songs or use catch phrases from old ads today and you instantly remember the product. Today, you are right – they are all politically correct and even the funny ones are not funny. Many times my husband and I look at each other and say, “what does that have to do with such-and such, or that doesn’t make me want to buy that product.” I often thought it would have been a great gig to work in advertising.

    • #5
    • October 17, 2020, at 6:29 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Old Bathos Moderator

    I loathe corporate groupthink. 

    • #6
    • October 17, 2020, at 12:39 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Stad Thatcher

    Midwest Southerner:

    This year I’ve found myself fast forwarding or muting the commercials. They’re just not as creative as they used to be and, quite frankly, they’re all just trying to out-do each other on their level of wokeness.

    The big a-ha for me has been the Covid-themed commercials that have been produced this year. Advertisers are selling us acceptance of what our pandemic responses are doing to this country and the world. See for yourself:

    Saw one, and I’m not buying. There are two target audiences: maskers and non-maskers.

    • #7
    • October 17, 2020, at 1:36 PM PDT
    • 1 like