Time to put away the brand sanitizer

May 26, 2020
May 26, 2020 Full Contact

Yes it was the right thing to do, for brands and agencies alike.

Take a pause, focus on the big picture, help out any way we could. Soothe, not sell. Provide comfort, not copy points.

It really did feel like we were all in this together, which has been awesome and effective and no doubt helped flatten the curve and save lives.

Now comes the grand re-opening of America. It will be eventual and methodical, but it’s already starting, and it’s going to be a remarkable thing to experience.

And we, as brands and agencies alike, have a tremendous opportunity to help everyone get back to whatever normal is sooner than later. How? By getting back to the business of setting brands apart.

For almost three months in the marketing world, we were not just all in this together, but many were using the exact same script…and imagery…and piano score.

And while there were some outstanding exceptions (Apple, Nike, Old Navy, Burger King and CVS to name a few), there was a lot of pivot parity too.

It’s okay. There were way more important things going on at the time. It’s been phenomenal to watch brands and agencies step up and DO things that really matter to people. It’s been even more phenomenal and gratifying to be a part of that, as anyone at our agency can attest.

But now what really matters to people is getting their lives back.

We can be on the forefront of helping them do exactly that. And if we do, we unleash the most effective stimulus package of all: the awesome power of the American consumer.

If there was a Pent-Up Consumer Demand index, it would be off the charts right now:

  • According to a recent IPSOS study, 58% of consumers miss going out to bars and restaurants.
  • This week The Wall Street Journal reported a sudden revival in consumer interest of buying and owning their own car. Also “Buy A Car” google searches are higher now than they were pre-pandemic.
  • Redfin reported that homebuyer demand, after plummeting by one-third in April, is now also above pre-pandemic levels.

The states are reopening, and literally hundreds of millions of consumers have been waiting at the front door­ – waiting to get back to their favorite restaurant, to the beaches, to play, to work, to shop inside a store and to spend their money again.

And yes, of course the caveat here is to do it all in a safe and manageable way where we respect each other’s need to remain healthy.

But when consumers do suddenly have the freedom to get out there and spend in droves, employers will have the ability to hire in droves. Spending rockets up, unemployment levels plummet, and once again there is a supply for all the demand that will be out there.

So, how can brands and agencies play a role in creating this self-induced consumer stimulus? By leading the way with optimism and fresh new insights that connect consumers back to their best selves, or perhaps a slightly new and different version of their best selves.

By creating work that breaks through rather than blends in. Consumers are done with the blending in, where so many messages sound exactly the same and say little to nothing.

Time to say something better, say it differently, make people laugh again, make people desire again and happily reconnect them to their individual hopes and dreams.

These past few months have been quite the palate cleanser across the marketing world, a sea of sameness the likes of which we have never experienced before. Now we have a golden opportunity. The slate is clean and the page is blank. People are looking for something new and fresh and different to enrich their lives, to make them happy again.

It is the right thing to do, for brands and agencies alike.





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