Is it too soon for pandemic jokes?

—This is the first of a new regular column that long-time Canadian creative Craig Redmond will be writing for our Monday newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter here

When is too soon? It’s a conundrum that plagues the ad industry more than most, because we are collectively charged with gauging the vanguard of cultural palatability on behalf of our clients.

But in the riptide of this global pandemic, we are being plagued like never before.

Over 90 million cases and nearly two million deaths worldwide. A miraculous vaccine developed at warp speed but being administered at a snail’s pace. Millions unemployed, watching a global economy in a death spiral, swirling down the porcelain poop chute.

So, when is too soon?

Well, perhaps ask The Monkeys.

Once called Three Drunk Monkeys (my favourite ad agency name ever), The Monkeys shortened and cleansed their name for, it was rumoured, a sensitive client. But that self-censure appears to have stopped just this side of the Aussie agency’s shingle.

The notoriously naughty creative shop has just fired a very early salvo across the bow of the tasteful taboo called Coronavirus.

Granted, the ad is for an innocuous fishing and boating brand, and given the density of the Australian dialect, intended for only the most leathery custodians of the Outback.

But when you sneak a bat sandwich into an otherwise pretty catchy, albeit clearly Covid-inspired spot, you’re bound to draw the ire of a fastidious few.

Too soon? Watch it below and you be the judge.

But here’s to 2021, anyway. Which couldn’t come soon enough.

Craig Redmond is a creative leader with Palmer Stamnes and Co, an independent family of marketing communication companies.