The Unlockdown

Ready for a brave new-ish world?

Of all the anniversaries I thought I’d celebrate, a-year-of-being-holed-up-in-our-jim-jams-to-dodge-a-deadly-virus, was not top of the list says Lizzie Hutchison, AML Copywriter.

For starters – you can’t fit that on a cake. But here we are. Looking back at a wobbly year, and cutting tentatively into the next one. Now we’re allowed to sit outside with up to six people! Of course – thanks to lockdown – finding six people you actually want to sit outside with, is more of a challenge.

Covid-19 has focused the mind. It’s chopped the fat off life, so to speak. There is no room for anything extraneous. No fripperies, fancies or follies. We wake. We work. We walk. We watch. We’re fixed on the essentials, what’s really important. Myriad meme-based WhatsApp groups have folded in favour of facetimes with your nearest and dearest. ‘Party pals’ are gone. ‘Support bubbles’ are in. Social skills have surrendered to social anxiety. I was recently introduced to our new Creative Director over Zoom. All I could do was smile and wave. Which I clarified with the comment ‘I’m waving.’ My camera was on.

Are these changes permanent? Will we really bother taking out a loan to go to the cinema, or will we just Netflix and chill forever? Will weddings really go back to 150 guests, or will they retain the small majesty of two people entwining lives? Will we bother ubering to restaurants, or has the takeaway conquered all? Will I ever stand in a Zara changing room again, or will I just keep sending back piles of dresses from home?

And what’s going to happen to advertising? Well, as it’s broadly more successful when it holds a mirror up to reality, I believe it should focus on what’s really important. Family centered ads. Those that show small circles of people, in the comfort of easy intimacy. With a dash of humorous whimsy. Something that transports us out of the mundane and into the magical.

Laughing is what will get us through this. A quick giggle with a colleague, a sarcastic tweet, an embarrassing story from a friend, all have the power to relax our brains, taking us to a better, more creative space. And if advertising can capitalise on that, then it’ll cheer the viewer along into an attitude of brand warmth. Hopefully, taking more than six people with them.

Anyway, I’m off to plan a 30-person wedding. I’m waving.