Bacardi serves up a moment of respite

—The latest instalment 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

“NOT COVID COMPLIANT!!!” With bulging eyes and flaring nostrils, I guarantee these will be the first acidic words spewing from pursed, venomous lips upon seeing this latest music extravaganza from the ironically bat-branded booze behemoth, Bacardi.

Such has become the pandemic-altered state of our collective mind that we now agonize over how an idea is produced before we even think about what that idea is or why we are conceiving it in the first place.

In the Spring of Covid, we subsisted on a steady diet of sad, consumer-generated content. Then came the manically meta onslaught of Zoom spawned creative. This was inevitably followed by satirical social commentary on both.

But, being the intrepid, creative chameleons we are, we adapted. We resurrected our kinship with an age-old and COVID-19 immune ally: animation. And overnight, an army of digital film graduates were pressed into service across the globe.

Tens of thousands of underpaid, malnourished pixel-pushers, living on Cheetos and Slurpees, slaved away in the darkness, wrestling back artistic freedom from the suffocating grip of pandemic censors.

But alas, even that animation feeding frenzy outlasted its best-before date, and we found ourselves back at the woeful whiteboard, navigating our blindness through the labyrinth of Corona-clever casting, social distanced sets, Zoom teleported Video Villages and geographically cavernous post-production divides.

Which is what struck me dumbfounded about Bacardi’s “Conga Feat. You” I don’t know if this commercial music video was shot pre-Covid-19. I don’t know if the customer TikToks solicited in November were editorially integrated to distract from the proximity crimes being committed in that shoot. I don’t know if Bacardi will get pilloried for its disregard of pandemic protocol.

And I don’t care.

Instead, I allowed myself the unmitigated joy of tapping my toes for three-and-a-half minutes. And I rejoiced in its soul replenishing message that music can help mend a planet torn to pieces.

It was a fleeting moment of respite. One we should perhaps all mercifully permit ourselves.

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