Pitch Perfect?

Brands have a thin needle to thread when it comes to getting pandemic-era marketing right. And with more eyeballs fixed on screens as consumers stay home, people are paying close attention.

One study of the performance of nearly 500 coronavirus-related advertisements found some COVID-19 marketing fatigue among consumers. Many felt brands were exploiting the pandemic in their ads for what is ultimately a sales pitch during a time of crisis.

Despite the fatigue, the researchers found consumers still want brands to recognize our new reality. Consumers are still moved and empowered by some COVID-related advertising, showing brands’ efforts matter.

So what’s a brand to do? The spots breaking through are the ones breaking the mold.

Unilever ran an ad without a piano key in earshot, Bulleit Bourbon chose to make people laugh again, and French supermarket Intermarché looked to a post-pandemic future.

With states reopening and the U.S. economy starting back up, it’s time for brands to acknowledge the full spectrum of American consumers’ new reality–the mundane, the bad and, yes, the funny.