Sick of sourdough starter? Tired of “Tiger King”? Well, so were these ad makers, who did some amazing pandemic parody ads.
YouTube creator Sean Haney, aka Microsoft Sam, made an ingenious super-cut of pandemic commercials from Apple to Uber, revealing all their identical cliches. From the sad piano music that eventually speeds up, to the language (“uncertain” or “unprecedented” times, “here for you” and “together”) to scenes of clapping and not-so-subtle reminders of brand heritage. This parody to end all parodies struck a nerve; after this, brands were shamed into revising their approaches.
New York-based copywriter Samantha Geloso also took a swipe at pandemic advertising with “Hey we’re a brand,” a devastatingly cynical take on the ubiquitous montage. The film overlaid footage of empty shelves and weeping healthcare workers with somber music and a script skewering brands trying to capitalize on the pandemic. Perhaps a little harsh on the industry—but more than one marketer probably recognized itself.
Santa Monica-based creative studio Caveat had harsh words for marketers; namely that life is “shitty” at the moment and advertising can’t really do a lot to make it better. Aping the style of marketer coronavirus messages with scenes of empty park benches and streets, spaced logos and bittersweet piano chords, it urges brands to stop spending their money on such excrement, and donate it to small business instead.
With “In Memoriam,” creative boutique Gify Tube and comedian Dean Edwards said farewell to phrases that were “killed off” by COVID-19, from “you have a firm handshake” to “of course you can borrow some toilet paper” and “Vodka and tonic for breakfast? No thanks.” It’s funny, but might also bring a tear to your eye.
This article first appeared in adage.com