COVID-19

I’ve largely avoided discussing our current strange times but, recently watched a TV programme during which were advertisements from the following :

  • a company selling beds
  • a major bank
  • a well-known manufacturer of tea
  • two major television companies, one of which is funded directly by UK public’s payment of an annual licence fee

Just to be clear, these all specifically mentioned the current difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, so they were newly produced and not to provide information needed by the public, but solely to market their wares.

Whilst not a fan of one major UK supermarket chain – they got a free pass from me for their new advertisement because its focus was on providing guidance to customers about the arrangements they’ve set in place to enable their customers to shop as safely as possible during the current social distancing requirements. Even though they closed on their standard marketing strap-line, the largely informational nature of the advertisement meant it didn’t cause me rage. Whereas the bed sellers, having rushed to produce a new voice-over for their advertisements focusing on “the importance of sleep during stressful times like these” and the tea manufacturer whose advertisement focused on “the importance of talking and keeping in touch” while drinking a cup of their tea, made me question the morality of using the current circumstances to market your products and/or services.

I’m in no way bothered about the many small businesses adjusting their offerings to be available online, nor those who have morphed into a related business (restaurants now offering home delivery for example), for I’m entirely comfortable with the man in the street working hard to earn a living. For full disclosure, I’m doubtless influenced by the knowledge that the small business belonging to a family member will not survive this lock-down.

I get that our economy is being trashed, I understand we are heading into a recession like none before, but something about large organisations spending a lot of money (I’ve worked in advertising and know the vast sums of money involved) to make their advertising specific to the current pandemic just boils my blood. When so many are offering their services for free (or at a greatly reduced charge), when even Audible is providing free access to stories for children, something about harnessing the virus to sell things like beds and tea seems … lacking in humanity.

Despite some viewers commenting how bizarre it is to watch advertisements which are completely irrelevant to life as we now experience it (for summer holidays abroad and the like), my reaction is one of sympathy for those organisations over their (pre-booked) advertising spend, as it is inevitably falling on stony ground. But there’s something about their perceived acceptance of the difficult situation they find themselves in which gives me more of an “all in this together” feeling. Whereas those who’ve rushed out to make their new advertisements … not so much. Something about that behaviour feels at the very least tacky, at the worst morally lacking.

I feel the same way about those banks who’ve lowered the interest rate on savings while raising the interest rate on loans and mortgages – this latter despite the Bank of England having lowered theirs with the specific aim of helping to alleviate nationwide hardship and with the expectation that banks would pass it on to their own customers. When those banks are the same who were bailed out by the government with tax-payers money, after they got into themselves into financial trouble … I find myself without words which could be repeated here. And as for investors and traders making fortunes out of the pandemic, there must be a special place in hell for them.

As a part-time Life Coach & NLP Practitioner, I’ve spent time reflecting whether I have anything to offer the public at large during this difficult time. As my aim is to serve and not sell, I decided that with so many high quality offerings already available at free/low cost, adding my voice would simply be making noise. Instead I’ve focused my time and energy on providing regular and consistent support to a number of individuals living alone, who I know are either already struggling, or will be likely to struggle during this time. I also acknowledge how fortunate I am in having an alternative income stream, and feel it’s not appropriate for me to take away from the limited pool of funds available to coaches during this time.

I know fear is at the root of the many less attractive aspects of human behaviour being displayed currently, and can but hope we’ll see a change in the current me, me, me focus of society post Covid-19.

What do you hope for post Covid-19?


© Debra Carey, 2020

18 comments

  1. I hope too, for a change in society’s focus post-pandemic. I had hoped for one in North America, post 9/11. But it was very short-lived and then back to business as usual. I don’t know what it will take for our Western culture (in particular) to stop being greedy and selfish and become more concerned for others and the planet. I wish I knew how to teach empathy, because the culture in the USA (especially) is lacking in this. Glad to be Canadian, although there are many here who are looking at the current US administration and wanting the same sort of thing here. Ugh.

    Deb

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I just hope there is a post covid19….. honestly, I think for six months after people might be a little kinder, and then I think everyone will forget. Forgetting and moving on is survival….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Deb, absolutely – empathy is lacking in oh so many societies – western first world ones in particular. I share your hopes and agree that it would be wonderful if empathy could be taught. It’s pretty grim to see how those with the greatest empathy are now being categorised as “overly sensitive” and “snowflakes”.

    I continue to hope – but I fear it will be for nought.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LA, I believe that a proper post Covid-19 could be some way off yet. Here in the UK we’re still struggling with a proper testing programme, so a vaccine – even when developed & tested – is unlikely to be as widely available as it needs to be for people to feel it safe to behave as they did before. I’m trying not to focus on that thought for being unable to see & hug my daughter & granddaughter is killing me.

    While I will go on holding on to hope, I suspect you’re right about survival …

    Like

  5. I hope that people will come to grips with and toss aside their addiction to busyness for the sake of busyness. I’ve had it with show-offs running around every which way, always on the go. What say people embrace the idea of relaxing and enjoying and being grateful, rather than alway egging each other on to the next big thing? I doubt it’ll happen, but that’s my hope.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. A perfect commentary for right now, Deb. I too have raised an eyebrow (or two) at ads I’ve seen and heard on the radio which clearly are opportunistic. The utter transparency of them comes through so clearly. Yet, at the same time, I do wonder as I’m watching whether others feel the same way; consumerism being such an addictive habit to shed and all. My hunch is that most of these companies are diabolically aware of their deviousness, but are willing to sacrifice moral ground for the sake of that percentage of the population who get sucked into their overtures. Another day, another shekel.

    Great post. – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Those are accurate observations, Debs. I try to remain hopeful, but the blinkered people over here in the US frighten me with their irresponsible behaviour. How can you insist that Jesus is your protector and all the sick & dying are a left-wing hoax? I pray people learn in time, and the post-Covid-19 world moves away from economic imperatives. We were already destroying the planet for profit. I’m retired and sadly depended on investments, although I have been telling the money decision makers to support green enterprises.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ally, what a perfect thing to hope for. I remember living on my own for the first time ever aged 51 and yes, I did sign up to everything I could in order to keep busy. It was only when my therapist asked what I was afraid of that I stopped to think. I’d been afraid of being alone because the idea of being lonely scared me. Through therapy I came to realise that fear was my mother’s and not mine. After that I slowed down a lot, discovering that I actually rather liked being alone. I was delighted to discover I have an introverted side to my personality 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thanks for the kind words Marty, I’m glad I’m not the only one noticing and feeling unhappy with this behaviour. Of course, our society has demonstrated it’s cold consumerist heart for quite some time, so I’ve no idea why I’m surprised. When viewed against the actions of those who are offering something for nothing, believing it is the right thing to do, the contrast is so stark.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Roland that must be deeply disturbing to observe. My sister is a US citizen and I worry about her and her family amidst all this. Actually, it’s not the only time I’ve worried for their safety, but that’s another story for another day. Take good care m’dear.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The Covid specific ads I’ve seen haven’t really bothered me. The local grocery chain is running ads announcing their new hours and explaining their new sanitation policies. That’s a pretty good way to reassure customers that it’s safe to go buy food. I also saw an ad for a local auto repair shop that basically just said, “We’re still open and we know how to use disinfectant, so if anything’s wrong with your car, you can still call us.” But those mattress, banking, and tea ads you’re talking about sound very different. I don’t know if I’d laugh at something like that or get angry.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Like you James, I’m absolutely fine with the useful & informative ads. The others, not do much. I shall try to laugh in future.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Some marketing is just so ridiculous that you have to laugh at it, I think. But that’s not always the case, and I don’t know how I’d react to the ads you’ve been seeing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We don’t get tv & with not driving I’m not listening to the radio so I haven’t been exposed to adverts. I do remember seeing films advertised on the sides on buses & wondering why.
    Post covid I’m hoping people remember the front line workers and and next time nurses etc. ask for a pay rise they’re given one. Well I’d be hoping they’d get it without having to ask to but… & I hope the small businesses manage to pick themselves up & people keep supporting local. And that people who are finding themselves freed from some of their obligations find themselves remaining free of them. I hope like you do that we lose the need for busyness & curb our consumerist natures.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I think the post-Covid19 period is going to be interesting. There is much I hope for, but I can’t help but acknowledge that I don’t have high expectations sadly.

    Liked by 2 people

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