It's the biggest elephant in the room. Do you talk about the global COVID-19 crisis in your messaging? If you do, how should you handle it? If you are making an offer does it look like profiteering or is empathetic to the crisis and people going through hard times? Does it sound the same as every other commercial out there? We take deep dive into what it means to tell your story during the pandemic.
I started writing this article before I came across Microsoft Sam's video called "Every Covid-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same" and it really hits the nail on the head.
In the YouTube description, Microsoft Sam states: "many companies have found themselves short on cash, almost overnight. They needed to get a message out - and quick. They asked their teams to throw something together. Since they can't film a new ad because of social distancing, they compiled old stock b-roll footage and found the most inoffensive royalty-free piano track they could find.
This, combined with a decade of marketing trends dictated by focus groups and design-by-committee, released a tsunami of derivative, cliche ads all within a week of one another. It's not a conspiracy - but perhaps a sign that it's time for something new."
Semantic satiation is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who then perceives the speech as repeated meaningless sounds.
The first thing I noticed at the beginning of the outbreak was that commercials felt like little more than pandemic profiteering. Like Toyota offering a measly 90-day deferred first payment on every new Toyota for a limited time.
Fiat Chrysler offered zero percent APR for 84 months with no monthly payments for 90 days on select 2020 Dodge, Jeep, and Ram 1500 models. This is a better deal, obviously, but is this really the time for those kinds of promotions. It had everything to do with timing. It felt too rushed and too early.