• Shems Ghali

Has COVID Created a New Era for Marketing?

Dear world,


It’s been a weird 8 months, and a whirlwind the last few weeks with the sudden lockdown 2.0 and the US election. From projects we’ve taken on since March and our own Human Futures stories from across the globe, this time (for most) has been spent reflecting, looking back on the past, being resilient and surrounding themselves with community.

Every Monday, the One Minute to Midnight team comes together to talk about what’s inspired us over the last week. This week’s meeting felt different from the rest, our topics were linked through these areas and felt like a reflection of the current times.

We discussed a mix of inspirations from the new Amazon Christmas Advert, to the film Coco, to Black History Month to Bike Insurance. Written out like this they feel quite random and disjointed but it was our thoughts around them that brought them together.

  1. Amazon moved away from their ads with smiley boxes on to a dancer whose show had been cancelled until her little sister stepped in to save the day. It builds emotional, human connections away from receiving an Amazon order

  2. Bike insurance focused on people and only charging when you need to use it. It puts people at the heart of their business

  3. Laundry, a video from Black History Month featuring Lily Allen as “people generally listen to people that look and sound like them”. Finding a common ground to spread an important message and bring people together

Of course, we still question these inspirations, the intention of the companies creating them, after all, they still want to make money but the messages we took from them is what connected with us and felt relevant to our current lives. Could this focus on the human connections (less on the product), the resilience we have and coming together be the way forward for brand connection?

November and December are big months in the advertising world, I’m sure everyone (like me) eagerly awaited the John Lewis Christmas advert or its rival Sainsbury’s to see what they were going to do this year… a simple Christmas advert doesn’t feel like it’ll be enough. It needs to connect in new ways that show they understand how we’re all feeling. Tesco may have won on that this year.



Disney released their Christmas advert and in typical Disney style it pulls on the old heartstrings but there’s a brief scene where the main character gets transported back to their childhood, a reflection on the past. Brief yet relevant, even something as small as this has the potential to resonate.

It’s hard to see an end to the current world we’re living in (even with a new vaccine) and to some extent, a focus on the now or the past is all we have. This will undoubtedly carry across into the new year… It feels like a new era for marketing where connecting with humans runs much deeper than before. This makes us truly excited at One Minute to Midnight, as we’re all about the human and finding human truths that make great things happen, these truths are where relationships can be built so let’s see what the next few months have in store.

Bye for now,

Shems

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