Don’t Be a COVID Copycat

Okay, we get it! The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected all our lives for how many weeks now? I think I’ve lost count at this point. If you’re like me, it’s not something you wish to dwell on 24/7.

But not only are we bombarded with non-stop COVID-19 news, many advertisers seem to have forgotten what products and services they’re actually selling. Instead, they’ve opted to pound into our heads that life has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, and may never be the same again. 

Take Facebook’s Portal ad campaign with Queen’s “Under Pressure.” There’s no one talking. There’s just that song blaring while people are stuck at home, trying to make the best of a bad situation. Why use that particular song? How surreal, in a creepy and counterintuitive way. I’d really like to ask Mark Zuckerberg what the heck he was thinking here:

“Pressure: pushing down on me, 
Pressing down on you, no man ask for.
It’s the terror of knowing what this world is about.
Watching some good friends screaming, “Let me out!”

There are many equally foreboding commercials out there. But mostly, what we’re hearing and seeing are advertisers pushing the promise that they’re here for us during these “uncertain times.” However well-intentioned they may be, their ads all seem to have the same somber music, gray-toned visuals and cliché messages. To say these ads are getting old is an understatement. And apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Morning Consult, a data intelligence company, conducted a recent survey of 2,200 American adults. While 44% of respondents wanted ads to include some information on service adjustments and updates such as changes to store hours, only 24% cared what a company is doing to help during the pandemic. Furthermore, when people were asked their preferences, only 10% wanted advertisers to even acknowledge COVID-19.

It’s understandable why advertisers changed their focus when this crisis began, but it’s way past time to move on. Despite the fact that “we’re all in this together,” I’d rather know what a company’s products and services can do for me as an individual. How about you?