Creativity in lockdown

23 April 2020 2 min read
Written by

Clive Weatherley

Our Head of Copy, Clive Weatherley, muses from the confines of his dining room.

I’m sure the last thing you want to read is another article starting ‘In these difficult times…’. I almost managed to avoid it – does reported speech count? It’s remarkable, though, that however creative and individual we all think we are, most are guilty to reverting to the same tropes on social media as we struggle through isolation. And the same is true for many commercial organisations in their in-crisis advertising.

At first it was a good game: spot the ads that were created pre-shutdown, aired according to months-old media planning – and are now sadly irrelevant and even inappropriate. Restaurant chains, theme parks, car brands: all were inviting us along, against the real-life backdrop of eerily empty high streets with boarded-up buildings. Now, weeks in, the advertising landscape has changed. Advertisers are having to consider their audiences’ limitations more than ever before; ads are created with obvious social distancing, or even using phone footage; and CTAs focus on ordering online. 

But the novelty’s wearing off. Seeing what a celeb’s sofa looks like, or what they themselves look like when the studio’s hair and makeup girl is also in lockdown, soon pales. The game has been upped, creativity is being challenged like never before – but just when we begin to see the fruits of beleaguered brainstorming, life will be back to ‘normal’, and tills and tables will have been dusted off for our relieved, if cautious, return. 

What will we creatives have learned? What positives will we take from the event that’s eclipsed even 9/11 as the most momentous in our lifetimes? Hopefully, that we can adapt and tailor our messaging to any circumstances life throws at us. That you don’t need million-pound ad spends to put effective and relevant messaging across. That honesty and compassion are valued by everyone, regardless of wealth, position or ability. Hopefully. But only time will tell.