Virus: And now, a word from our sponsor

What do you do if you have a product to sell, but can’t be sold during the lockdown caused by the pandemic? You can button down and wait for it to end, or you can keep your name before the public.

Looking and listening to commercials, it seems most have taken the route of hiding, or not changing their message, while others have changed their advertising pitch to address the New Normality, or as a friend calls it, the New Abnormality.

Images are wrong in Nugenix commercial

Keeping an old commercial can lead to jarring images, such as this one for some male energy product called Nugenix. See the press conference crowded with reporters? Kind of ridiculous, especially when you have seen how reporters are spread out at presidential news briefings and others with governors or mayors. 

So now let’s look at some advertisers who have recognized the New Abnormal.

Starting with the radio, Judith Krupnick of Cherry Hill Volvo has a strong presence on KYW NewsRadio1060. 

The dealership has one commercial that talks about leasing, but another one thanks health care workers.

In another car commercial, the “Barbera Family” thanks people working during the pandemic. In a print ad, it names “doctors, hospital staff, nurses, firefighters, EMTs, first responders, pharmacists, police, grocery store employees, restaurant workers, delivery drivers, truck drivers.” It also touts Philabundance, the hunger-relief organization.

Now we turn to TV.

“Now more than ever, we need the good stuff in life,” says a commercial (above) showing Mom, Dad, little Johnny. “Togetherness, patience, laughter, love. Milk. Love what’s real.”

The AT&T work family

“AT&T is here, providing advanced support for first responders . . . Because until their job is done it is essential that we all have their backs. It’s what we’ve always done, it’s what we’ll always do.”

I liked the simplicity of the AT&T commercial. Providence Blue Cross had another simple statement. Maybe too simple.

Background music played over black and white still photos of medical care givers. The message is slightly muddled: “This isn’t going anywhere if you go everywhere.” Huh?

In my research, which mostly meant watching commercials instead of zapping them, I came across a website with scores of COVID-19 themed commercials. In case you need to kill a few hours.

Next up, Nationwide, which has been on your side since 1926. “Today being on your side means staying home . . . Assisting customers with financial hardships and our foundation’s contributing millions of dollars to charities.”

Domino’s has a simple message: We are open and we are hiring, say several franchisees and employees. “We’re putting food on people’s tables and helping you put food on your table.”

Against a series of shots showing its employees, Xfinity says it is here, ready to serve, as it thanks its employees.

Using a woman’s voiceover and a shot over the heads of an audience, the Kimmel Center says, “You are the ones that dazzle us. And although the show may have been paused, we are with you. We are all in this together. And we can’t wait to get back to our seats when the next act begins.”

“For Hyundai and its dealers, the health and safety of our local communities has always come first. And right now we’re all safest at home (above). But should you need a vehicle, we have options to shop online and a participating dealer will deliver it right to you. And to ease the financial strain, you’ll make no payments for four months. Together, we can create a safer, better car-buying experience.”

“We all have the power to protect,” says a woman’s voiceover. “The power to care. The power to provide. And the power to lead. The men and women of PECO share your determination to power through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are focused on maintaining the grid to keep your lights on and gas flowing. Together we will power through this.“

“Dear America, Toyota salutes our unsung heroes — the grocery store employees helping us keep food on tables. . . . All your friends at Toyota.”

My guess is the car company has several of these commercials, saluting a variety of unsung heroes, which would not include this guy:

Nothing against Mr. Pillow, just need a break from the seriousness.

We close with this one from AAA:

“At Triple A, we know the importance of sticking together during tough times. Which is why we are still out there helping those in need get back to their destinations. And that’s something everyone can take comfort in. Thank you to all the tow trucks drivers.”

And thank you to everyone else who keeps all the wheels turning in these tough times.

21 thoughts on “Virus: And now, a word from our sponsor”

    Isn’t it nice that all of these companies are being very nice so that they can still take your money !?!

  2. Isn’t your column, Stu, a riff on the old Jack Benny bit? You remember:
    Stickup bad guy to Benny: “Your money or your life!”
    Long pause by Benny.
    Stickup guy, impatiently: “Well?!”
    Benny: “I’m Thinking! I’m thinking!”
    In any event, it’s good PR to have companies pat us and themselves on the back.
    A moment to brag, if I may: My son, John, is an Emergency-Room Physician Assistant. Every day he goes to the hospital where he works and deals with the coronavirus. Then, on one weekend a month, he serves as a captain in the National Guard doing the same thing where needed. No parades, no banners, just quiet service — by him and a lot of others just like him. It chokes me up.

    1. Vincent, you should be proud of your son. He and, as you said, many others are on the front lines in this horrible situation. I pray to God he, and all of the others, stay safe.

  3. Vince
    Your one son served in Nam. You have this one serving proudly. I thank for their service and thank their parents for serving right along with them.

  4. Stu – thx for bringing these items up. I wasn’t really aware of them since my TV time has been all but non existent recently because of my mother. Without meaning to sound morose, based on what you’ve shown above, about the only people that don’t need to advertise currently are the funeral homes. They have more business than they can handle, unfortunately. I guess today is my glass-half-empty-day.

  5. Stu, I’ve been on the same wavelength for the last month. Watching which companies have been responsive with sensitive advertising with messages of hope, unity, focusing on the importance of family and friendships.
    Here’s the perverse thing: Marketing is more empathetic than our own government.
    Some feel that ads are just money manipulation, but so it is in regular times. Good PR keeps a company’s name alive. No crime there. But I’ve been observing how the good ones do it right.

  6. Mr PIllow is making some kind of medical supplies, heard that on a press briefing. He isn’t out boasting about that. I’d give him a little slack. Sleep well on whatever pillow you sleep on. Is it made in the USA?

    1. Mike Lindell (Mr Pillow), recovered crack addict, avowed Christian, supporter of President Trump, was honored at a Covid-19 update, sometime in March, for his company making 50 thousand masks for the front liners. He of course was both praised and made fun of, by some, for bringing up of all things, God, at the update. Even ‘Morning Joe Scarborough’ of MSNBC had a kind word for him.
      Speaking of those on the front lines, I salute namely, Captain John Benedict, for his duel duties, as stated above by his proud dad, Vince.

    2. Mike Lindell, founder and owner of My Pillow, was a college dropout who failed at everything he tried.
      He turned to drugs and alcohol and then fought back from the brink of death by addiction. He stared and funds a clinic to help those in addiction. He is living proof that even someone in the depths of addiction can turn his or her life around, and then give back to society. A good man.

    3. I sleep on a brick. As I said, “Nothing against Mr. Pillow…”
      I KNOW he is producing masks. Maybe he should cut a commercial. He certainly runs enough of them.

  7. still HAPPY MONDAY !!!
    is that brick American made ?!?
    I heard the Lindell story before. He was also one on one with Mark Levine, I think. On the assumption that Mr. Lindell is of above average intelligence, it is understandable that he turned to drugs. Many geniuses can’t cope in our world. They can’t dummy down. The few that are far superior to us are almost freaks. ( Einstein, Gates for two ) Miles Davis was a heavy user. In an interview, he was open. He said that he did coke, etc to give him direction. Miles said that he had so many musical notes stuck in his brain, trying to get out – all at the same time – that the drugs let him function. I think that he did a lot more than function as a jazz Trumpeter blowing his horn.
    Mike Lindell is one of the lucky ones. He came back from something worse than death.

      1. HAPPY TUESDAY !!!
        Of course I do. Your standard red/clay brick is USA. Ornamental bricks and specialty bricks are manufactured world wide. For years, Italy had the market sewed up with their classics.
        FYI during the ’70s when the historic buildings were being saved. A brick from the 1700s could cost as much as $100. Do you remember when Lit’s was renovated ?

          1. I know that you know what you said, ya know.
            I’m just trying to sell you some door stops

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