This year has been quite the sticky wicket for the advertising world, and for obvious reasons. There was no guide to “Marketing in a Pandemic” for brands and agencies to draw from, other than decade-old newspaper clippings whose only value was the confirmation that mask wearing seemed to be the best deterrent to spreading the virus the last time we had a global pandemic.
While it got off to an awkward start, ultimately, the ad world provided a shining light amidst all of the uncertainty this year, offering up moments of hope, inspiration and gratitude, sometimes even in lieu of self promotion. It was, dare I say, a humbling year for brands, marketers and advertisers alike.
Let’s start with the awkward part. As a great chunk of America started staying home full-time, that wasn’t going to stop them from watching TV. It sparked a brief debate over whether brands of all sizes should pause their marketing efforts, shift their messaging or just continue as planned. As far as TV was concerned it was the messaging that was updated for the present times. And it got a little awkward, notably documented by a creepily spliced “script” of the typical COVID commercial content: