We masked up. We quarantined. We crooned “happy birthday” to our loved ones through computer screens. For two long years. During this time, we saw images of the coronavirus pandemic on the news, heard about it on podcasts, and even watched it weaved into our favorite TV shows. We were literally, surrounded by it.
TV shows filtered the pandemic into scripts through the eyes of masked main characters and covid-focused storylines. Corporate giants like Audi, Coca-Cola, Volkswagen and McDonald’s altered their logos to encourage social distancing. Budweiser beefed-up vaccine awareness with its Reunite with Buds giveaway rewarding 10,000 responders with a $5 virtual debit card (to use towards a beer out with friends, of course) after uploading their vaccination selfie.
EXTRA Gum’s euphoric ad “For When It’s Time” depicted the possible beginnings of a post-pandemic celebration. The spot showed shuttered in, virus-wary people awakened by a radio deejay with news that the pandemic was over, and they can venture out of their quarantine cocoons. Emphatic, yet cautious, they peek their heads out into the real world again. After grabbing their pack of EXTRA gum (fresh breath is needed for the impulsive kiss or two after all) they venture forth unanimously, celebrating their new welcomed reality while Celine Dion’s power ballad “It’s All Coming Back to Me” plays in the background.
This euphoric ad aired in spring of 2021 while the pandemic was still in full force. The spot echoed the desires of many people at the time — to escape their homes, dust off their cars, shave their overgrown beards, come out from under a pile of take-out pizza boxes and simply GO OUT.
Hopefully, Gleefully and at Times, Euphorically
Two years after the pandemic began, the advertising climate has changed. And the reasoning is clear. The viewers have lived this virus. Many just don’t want to be remined of it. Every day. A majority of Americans say they feel “worn out” by how the pandemic has impacted their daily lives, and nearly 50% feel “angry” about it, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll.
Without a doubt, a noticeable shift has been made. An optimistic move forward that doesn’t claim that we’re positively post-pandemic, but just that we choose not to allude to pandemic-ness in advertising for the most part. Hopefully, gleefully, and, at times euphorically advertisers have forged ahead in portraying a less virus-intrusive world.
Meanwhile, Behind the Scenes. . .
Behind the scenes, the pandemic is still a force to be reckoned with. The production crew is masked up in accordance with CDC guidelines. People on set are doing their best to stand six feet apart and certainly not holding hands and sharing water bottles. What they are filming, however, is many times a fantasy-world far removed from our current reality.
In 2022, some advertisers feel as though their responsibility to stress safety has lessened. “At this point, people have all the information and they’ve made [the decisions] they’re going to make, and those attitudes and those beliefs have been calcified a little,” Mark Koelfgen, executive creative director and copywriter at David&Goliath told Marketing Brew.
Not Forgotten, Just Not Focusing
That’s not to say that advertisers have forgotten about the pandemic. Many are just not focusing on it. In May of 2022, it was reported that the average person will see a combination of 10,000 online, offline, digital and traditional ads a day. Advertisers have moved away from reality and instead, are portraying a happier side of life.
In 2022 consumers want inspiring products and experiences that spark joy and offer a break from the ongoing uncertainty of the past two years. In the words of one of Forrester’s ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community (MROC) member, “I’m looking for brands that make me happy, make me relax and that put me in a good mood to help me escape.”
Joy marketing is a term used to describe campaigns that elicit a specific emotional response: joy. By making a direct appeal to a person’s emotions, this approach allows brands to engage their audience on a deeper, more personal level.
In 2021, Dana Communications spearheaded an award-winning “Boost Your Mood” campaign for the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism that did exactly that. The multi-faceted print, digital, outdoor and social media campaign invited viewers to raise their spirits, feel happy again and get out there and enjoy all the exciting, uplifting experiences New Jersey has to offer. The campaign met with outstanding success in the summer of 2021 and was continued and adapted for the fall and winter of that year.
So, What’s Next?
The short answer is that advertisers will continue to adapt to the ever-changing climate as it presents itself. As always, they will keep a strong hold on the pulse of human behavior and a keen eye out for new marketing insights and current trends. Moving forward, marketing efforts will be tailored to respond to challenges as in the past — creatively, proactively, and intelligently. Currently, euphoric ads are one of the approaches taking center stage. So, curl up in your favorite chair. Smile. Kick back. And enjoy a joyful ad or two.
A dynamic leader in travel and tourism marketing, Dana Communications has successfully navigated countless world-class lifestyle and travel brands in both a pre- and post-pandemic world. Reach out to Lynn Kaniper at firstname.lastname@example.org for insightful, results-driven marketing solutions designed to help you achieve (and surpass) your goals.