This is Not the Time for Gimmicks

Opinion and Insight 411 Add to collection
Global Partner Nestle-KitKat Sasan Saeidi reflects on the impact of advertising during the coronavirus pandemic
This is Not the Time for Gimmicks

Global Partner Nestle-KitKat Sasan Saeidi looks at how companies should be 'actvertising' during the Covid-19 outbreak. 

The word COVID-19 is forever ingrained in our minds. We will look back to this time and remember it as a year of 'quarantine' and school closure. The year where we coined the word COVIDIOT; the term used for people who ignorantly and stubbornly dismiss advice, hoard supplies and are a cause of more problems than solutions. We will also look back at 2020 as a year where we saw the best in humanity in our social care and medical professionals, and the exact opposite, shameful to say the least. 

We all feel and worry about the calamity that is happening around us; affecting our families, friends, neighbours, colleagues and businesses. We’re all consumed with this massive threat to humanity, and today it’s not business as usual for any of us. Quite the opposite. And while we appreciate the fact that we’re trying to make things work and push along; there are some that are not as fortunate and need help; and it’s on all of us to use our power of influence and thinking to push ourselves and our clients to do more. 

As a communication professional, let me get specific and simply outline that today its ‘Actvertising’ time and not Advertising. 

All of us in the field of marketing and communication have an obligation to push our brands and clients to do more-good and be at the service of our communities. 

This community service is the job of all of us and our clients; and we must act as a caring corporate citizen. As brand leaders, opinion leaders, business leaders, we can make a difference and do our part to ease the suffering in the most selfless manner possible. 

So while I love the spirit of creativity that is popping up every-day; in my opinion; these attention grabbing public safety announcements (PSA) and messages and logo’s for social distancing are not enough. We need to volunteer; and give back through service; through charity; through money, through food, through supplies; through time, through creativity to ensure communities have enough resources and hope to fight and beat this bloody pandemic. 

Let’s push for acts and brainstorm with our clients to ensure we don’t stop at a PSA announcement. That we don’t stop with a post that is beautifully depicting self-isolation or logo’s being altered to merely collect likes. This is not the time for gimmicks. 

I have friends and family that have been affected and are suffering as we speak; so I take it seriously both personally and professionally and if this write up and professional advice can inspire action for a few companies and people to volunteer and act; then I feel it’s a good deed. 

  • As a brand play a real role - stressing on the ‘real’. Please don’t advertise. But please use creativity for good. You need to be an active participant. You need to be a concerned citizen. Roll up your sleeves and lean-in. 
  • Repurpose your brand essence - Most of your consumers have not seen these critical times in their lifetime, so it’s important for brands to update and modify their personality to ensure it fits and strikes a respectful chord with today’s realities. 
  • Ensure your brand values guide your actions - Your values keep you emotionally intelligent and act as your North Star. Following your values will help you connect authentically with your consumers and the community. 
  • Put your stiff upper lip in the cupboard and be human - Speak up, speak the truth and be emotionally connected to the situation. Lead with your heart as the climate needs it. Today the job of brands is to enhance relief and diminish anxiety however way they can and based on their capability. 
  • The way you act as a brand today will have a serious effect on your future - People don’t forget and people remember. Don’t hold back and be selfless, as this is the time where you need to go large and be exceptionally creative with your contribution. 

There has never been a more crucial time for brands and businesses to bring to life their values. The same values that look so good on their corporate websites. It’s the only time to give back and do something great. 

Pass it on. 


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Wunderman Thompson MEA, 5 months ago