We’ve reached the ‘freedom’ stage of pandemic advertising

—First came a wave of “these unprecedented times” ads, followed by the “we’re in this together” and “we’ll meet again” ads. The next wave of ads, celebrating humanity’s freedom, is just beginning, says Craig Redmond— 

Resonance of thought. It’s the idea that two complete strangers can have the exact same stream of consciousness on opposite sides of the earth without having any communication.

It’s why my first agency creative director always insisted that “everyone has the same first idea,” and why we must constantly push further and dig deeper to find original thinking.

Couple that phenomenon with a shared global event, like a world war or a plague, and you get a whole bunch of people around the planet thinking the same shit simultaneously.

So, one wonders if original thinking is even possible when we’re all collectively obsessed with this global pandemic. You just need to consider the relentless waves of sameness that pounded the advertising shores over the course of this past year.

First came the onslaught of “These unprecedented times” sentimentality that poured in from every brand in every category. That was followed by a surge of user generated “We’re in this together” content and then the flood of commercial animation that intrepidly dodged the limits of live film production, but also quickly grew ubiquitous and tiresome.

That was followed by the inevitable tide of “We’ll Meet Again” anthems of hope that accompanied the arrival of vaccines and the end of our universal incarceration.

Now comes the next tsunami: freedom.

And screaming “Cowabunga!!” atop the crest of that giant wave were the trend surfers at Wrigley, who captured the world’s captive attention with their “For when it’s Time” orgy of saliva-swapping liberation.

So just imagine being in the Pepsi boardroom, reviewing the final cuts of your own brand’s proclamation of hygienic emancipation, when news of Wrigley’s Extra epic began seeping into your marketing team’s social feeds.

Oh my <descending slide whistle sound>.

No doubt hundreds more brands around the world are right now producing their own replica of Covid cease-fire creative, and will soon drown us with similar creative message coming out of that shared resonance of thought.

But hopefully, with Covid mercifully receding soon thereafter, the creative contrarians of the world will resurface and start swimming against the currents of sameness once again.

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