What: A supercut of every commercial designed for these trying times.
Who: YouTuber Microsoft Sam.
Why we care: It’s difficult to make a request of someone when everyone in the entire world is sad, angry, broke, ill, or some permutation of all those things. Do you preface the sales pitch/favor-ask/podcast guest-invite by asking how the person “is holding up?” Or by Month Two, does that just seem patronizing?
Everyone has been struggling with this issue, probably both on the giving and receiving end.
This poem is called “First lines of emails I’ve received while quarantining.” pic.twitter.com/4keCqPaO63
— Jessica Salfia (@jessica_salfia) April 11, 2020
A lot of brands don’t seem to be having the same struggle in addressing viewers, however. They appear to have settled on the same house style guidelines right out of the quarantine-gate and are holding onto it for the long haul.
The format sprang up within the first weeks of most states descending into shelter-in-place. Somber tinkling piano, crisp B-roll of empty public spaces, and a message of solidarity in less-than-optimum times.
I first noticed it around March 25, as advertisers realized they needed to shift gears—and fast.
Suddenly seeing a lot of pre-roll ads that are like "Sometimes life can get a little dark. Let the new Kia Sorento light the way to a better tomorrow."
— Joe Berkowitz (@JoeBerkowitz) March 25, 2020
The coronavirus-era commercial aesthetic soon cemented, though, as more and more advertisers decided it was the only option that made sense right now. A message of togetherness in these unprecedentedly uncertain times, during which each individual apparently needs to know that an ominous conglomerate is “here,” whatever that means, for them.
One person who quickly picked up on the similarities is YouTuber Microsoft Sam, who has edited together a supercut that reveals these ads as practically identical.
Someday soon, some creative agency is going to be the canary in the coal mine to test out a funny commercial for the COVID-19 era, and we will eat it up. Because we need laughs—now more than ever.
In the meantime, check out the supercut of every ad on your TV these days (above).