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Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Somehow, in this slower world, we’re surrounded by even more distractions. Half-diapered kids slipping into Zoom calls, unfinished DIY projects, and fiancés singing off-key in makeshift dining room offices (I can’t be the only one). But I’ll take any distraction as long as it’s not another puzzle. Please, no more puzzles.

Clearly, getting through COVID-19 takes creativity both on and off the job. Nowadays, we’re navigating brand launches and campaign development in quarantine. And in the beginning, as hot projects got delayed and concepts needed reworking, we asked ourselves, “Are we doing this right?

To us, normalcy means helping our clients. These are our partners and friends. When they win, we win. But we’re keenly aware of sounding opportunistic or, worse, oblivious. So is a website launch, social media campaign, t-shirt idea, or TV spot appropriate under the circumstances? Shouldn’t branding be the last thing our clients are worried about?

Actually, no.

New priorities are understandable and necessary right now, but leaving a brand totally unattended will make bouncing back more difficult. Because the mixture of messaging, attitude, and awareness that we call a “brand” is hard to build and easy to lose, good times or bad. And with each self-isolated day, the collective desire to seek normalcy and spend (or donate) money will grow. Brands that invest now will reap the reward.

Which brings me to some of our recent work. That’s right, you’ve come all this way to hear me brag a little.

Lake Regional Health System hasn’t been working from home. And as we all know, healthcare workers need all the help they can get. This quick-turn social media campaign brought our entire team together—account, creative, and data—to raise funds for much-needed protective equipment and critical care staff support. We’re not the heroes here. But it feels good to play a sidekick role.

And occasionally, we’ve been talking to the heroes themselves, conducting Zoom interviews with those on the front lines. From brief to life, this piece took a total of three business days. Even if the medium is limited, we’re fortunate to have great messengers like Jessica and Alisha.

And there’s no better testimonial for Lake Regional than Albert, a now-discharged COVID-19 patient.

For the rest of us, spending more time at home with our dogs has been a rare silver lining. But it’s given the staff at The Watering Bowl some serious separation anxiety. We’ve been helping with email updates and creative messaging as they’ve taken some big leaps in offering discounted gift cards and virtual training.

Our just-launched Jonathan Taylor campaign had a foot in both camps with production completed pre-pandemic and post-production wrapped up last week. This was a tricky one, but if we’re checking the scoreboard it looks like Toppers scored both a touchdown and a home run. Which, in this analogy, means a ton of great social media and news pickups. They pushed forward with some positive news right when we all needed it.

Meanwhile, between all this pizza and a pandemic, our daily beer consumption increased from one to three-ish. Which provided the inspiration needed to rework a large, talent-intensive campaign for one of our beverage clients. We’re still crossing a few (remotely-produced) t’s, but look forward to sharing new spots soon.

And then, there’s what a few of our clients are doing on their own.

The APA of Missouri continues to find both foster and forever homes for their dogs and cats at an unprecedented rate. Little Fox is rallying their neighbors to help Missouri’s small businesses. And McCarthy Building Companies put their 3D printers to work, making face masks for frontline healthcare providers. The list goes on.

Our clients are showing up in their communities, and we’ll keep showing up for them (at the CDC-recommended distance). This reality isn’t ideal, but it’s all we’ve got, and it’s not forever. So we’ll keep making the best of this weird hand we’ve been dealt. I just hope you’re keeping your eyes open to the good things humans are doing right now. Because that’s what’ll get us through.


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