The first months of 2020 will go down in ad history as the time when agencies around the globe seemed to be answering a single brief, in the same way.
As the world debated whether to give in to the “herd immunity” approach, advertising agencies appeared to have made up their minds. Every post and spot produced for every type of brand across the world showed and told the same story. The industry that sells differentiation and claims disruption appeared to have sadly fallen victim to the virus.
Not to underestimate the calamity of it all, the challenge was probably a notch higher than what the creative culture was ready for. One can’t help, however, but wonder how both sides of the communication equation – clients & agencies – could have been so unprepared. After all, most brands give the impression that preparing for crisis is an integral part of their marketing strategies. On the other hand, creative agencies always seem to be itching for opportunities to show their worth.
What it all came down to, in reality, is companies dusting off the outdated protocol of trying to remind people of their brand during the crisis while agencies went into copycat mode.
Smarter brands stocked up on credit they will most certainly use in their post-crisis communications; rolling up their sleeves and opening their coffers to help.
We are still in the thick of it and the fallout of the pandemic is not yet clear. What is clear so far is that both brands and agencies are still suffering from an acute imagination lockdown.
Needless to say, there are volumes of lessons we can all learn from this; the question is will we? Only time will tell.