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Uncertain Times Can Be Beautiful Too

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We've been in quasi-quarantine since mid-March. When the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic hit home for all of us all those months ago, most advertisers had to shift gears, fast. It would be difficult to count the number of brands that set their commercials for shoes or ketchup or sleep sofas aside and instead produced spots that were meant to make us feel warm and fuzzy. Like the big, bad brand was looking out for the little guy. Like we were all in this together.

Most of these ads were, to be honest, well ... hack.

Really, someone should create a Bingo card (or a drinking game) featuring the most common lines of copy:

"In these uncertain times ..."

"Never has it been more important for us to stand together ..."

"It's good to know you can count on ..."

"No matter what the 'new normal' brings ..."

Oy vey! There are multiple issues here. First of all, the copywriting is somehow simultaneously overwrought and underwhelming. Second, in many (most?) cases, the allusions to the pandemic are what we call, "borrowed interest." If I'm legit concerned about my aging parents or my spouse who has an autoimmune disorder or my best friend who's an ER nurse, it really doesn't matter whether I can count on Acme Widgets or not.

That said, every now and then (even when we're in "uncertain times"), an ad is created that is truly a work of art. One of the Bs stumbled across this ad for Lavazza coffee's new global campaign. It's a short film, comprising really gorgeous, stop-you-in-your-tracks images. And, while it has a lot of motivational language, the creative team did something different. They didn't write a corny script from scratch. Instead, they excerpted (brilliantly) Charlie Chaplin's final speech from the 1940 political satire The Great Dictator.

Written by Chaplin himself, the words are:

"We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness — not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world, there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Let us fight for a new world — a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. Let us fight to free the world — to do away with national barriers — to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Let us all unite!"

In these uncertain times — and with an important election looming — this 80-year old message resonates, beautifully.

 

Face Masks Are The New Pens
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