Tv commercials

TV ads are now all about the coronavirus

It seems everyone’s gotten a little soft during the pandemic: friends who usually traffic in deliberately rude memes are sending healthy aquarium videos; Jim Cramer talks about sacrifice; New Yorkers are suddenly hot for Andrew Cuomo. For me, it’s that I find comfort in advertisements.

I’ve always watched a lot of TV, but it’s even more now. Somewhat oddly for my urban millennial demographic, I’ve never avoided commercials (I’m still a cable subscriber, plus I got cheap on my Hulu subscription). It’s a bit of cultural anthropology, a bit of knowing your enemy, a bit that I’m open to a quick, cheap shoutout thanks to a Subaru spot, a bit too lazy to fast forward on my DVR. Ads telegraph what companies want Americans to think of them and can’t help but show us what they really think of us. Advertisers will always try to reflect and influence our cultural moment, and this one is no exception.

Many companies aim for an explicit message of kindness, speaking to our sense of community and social responsibility. The conglomerate behind Budweiser is make a donation its entire sports and entertainment event budget to the Red Cross; GrubHub implores viewers to save local restaurants by ordering takeout; the Las Vegas tourist board – famous for “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” – points out that your health and safety are more important than the lights and shows of Sin City. Ad after ad invokes ideas of family and worker support, and we’re all in this together. That’s fine, even nice as long as you can believe a company’s values ​​are the same as they advertise, which historically you can’t. This is not what reassures me.

What reassures me is that even brands that just want to sell you stuff can’t avoid the virus. The Covid-19 sensitive ads seem surreal, like background details in a Don DeLillo novel, and their volume is overwhelming. Pizza chains promise don’t touch your pietelecommunications companies is committed to keeping us connecteda certain fast food juggernaut McDelivery. They create a constant drop of our new reality that only ends if you agree to turn off your TV or at least watch Netflix, for God’s sake.

After weeks of political figures minimize the problem, and reports on everyone from teens to baby boomers flouting social distancing guidelines, a stream of reminders that give credence to the threat makes me feel good. The world is different now; pretending he hasn’t changed is dangerous. Ads keep me from forgetting; they keep me from that horrible jerk when you let yourself think everything is normal but remember it’s not.

The speed with which these ads came together and the circumstances in which they were produced – presumably filming as little new footage as possible – means that many have a makeshift quality. A Toyota ad and a room New York Northwell Health announce sharing the same stock footage of a young woman helping an older one out of a car (21 seconds after the Toyota spot, 10 seconds after Northwell). Companies of walmart at state farm use what looks like a smartphone video, making it look like everything could be an Apple ad. Domino’s recut his lead role of Jordan Fisher, Risky business– inspired campaign to be on contactless delivery (it works pretty well).

the original ad co-starred actor Curtis Armstrong as the pizza delivery boy, but now he’s nowhere to be found — by Jordan or the public. “You can get pizza even when you stay inside,” the narrator says, as the ps i still love you the actor dances in his boxers. These new voiceovers and edits can be a bit crazy, which is kind of humanly appealing on its own. Everyone is doing their best.

It is perhaps these same constraints – or the mood of the day, which, with empty streets and closed shops, is unavoidable – which created the repetition we see now. All other companies want you to know they are here. Verizon communicates this sentiment (“We’re here, and we’re ready”) in a series of advertisements; one with Verizon Retail Specialists as Daniel and Jesús point out that even though the stores are closed, the business is available “24/7” online. Toyota uses it in the ad that overlaps Northwell’s, promising “we’re here for you now and in the better days to come.” (The ad, in total, uses four wordings of “we” “here” “for” and “you” in 30 seconds.)

Walmart is “here for you” with a series of talented and dedicated associates singing “Lean on Me”, who, frankly, all do Gal Gadot look even worse. GMC and Buick come together, with voice-over by Will Arnett, to tell us they are “Here to help,” and Indeed, the job search engine, uses the same line. McDonald’s simply says, “We will be there.”

This is the real message: We still exist. “For you” or “to help”, of course, but most are simply “here!” — present, accounted for, still standing. Companies that have the means volunteer for a vibe check. When it looks like the whole economy is collapsing in a matter of weeks, that’s something they need to say. It’s probably something we need to hear.

There is tension in many of these commercials. There are so many new issues now and even more to come, especially for workers. Will contactless delivery make you forget that a human being is risking his safety to bring him a pizza? Daniel and Jesús may still have their jobs at Verizon for now, but what after a few more weeks of closed stores? How Are Walmart Singing Salesmen Protected? Who is “here” and who will be “here” tomorrow? Basically, these are the same questions we’ve been asking for weeks (years, decades) about America’s lack of a social safety net.

As a novelist Arundhati Roy wrote for the Financial Times, pandemics have “forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew”, so it’s up to us to decide how we walk into the future. The world is different now – just turn on the television – and it’s it’s gonna be different after that. What we really need and what we really value seems obvious, and brands keep telling us this on purpose and by accident: safety, help, community, stability. We’ve paid lip service to these ideas for years, but they take on new meaning in times of crisis. I hope those of us here can make sense of them.