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  • Chas Bayfield

Enough Clever Clever Already

Thank you Nike for reminding us that staying in saves lives.

Thank you Coke for telling us that staying apart is the best way to stay united.

Thank you McDonalds for promoting social distancing with your clever detached golden arches.

You assume that we don't look to governments or scientists in times of global crisis and that instead, we depend on the cleverness of ad agencies.

Well, this may work in peace time.

Usually, when a brand does something smart, the world congratulates it for being on trend or culturally appropriate.

But now? Is a clever slogan in Time Square the most helpful thing that one of the world's wealthiest brands can offer?

Brands, it's time for a wake up call.

No one is thinking about you right now.

Despite any belief you might have had before all this that you actually matter to people, most of us would survive a world without Coke, Nike or Maccas.

It's much harder to survive a world without jobs, income, our parents and other loved ones, which is a future that millions of us are currently facing.

So please, stop using this horrendous pandemic to promote your brand in a cynical attempt remain front of mind and steal audience share. Stop even telling us of the good you are doing. Instead, why not just do good? Maybe McDonalds, you could quietly deliver free food to vulnerable people in self isolation. Nike and other fashion brands - perhaps turn over production to Hazmat suits and N95 masks for frontline workers in hospitals. Coke - maybe distribute some of your wealth to those lower down your supply chain who no longer have any income. And any other major advertiser, why not start a fund that throws a lifeline to all those back room staff in agencies who have help build your brand, and who now face a future where they can no longer pay their rent or mortgages, or feed their families.

But whatever you do, stop trying to be clever. Actions speak louder than words, and the world is waiting to see what you do, in the hope that it's something more than a giant illuminated billboard in New York City that garners a fistful of likes on LinkedIn. You are better than this.

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