Covidiots: Celebrities and brands who want your attention

Ammo Somal

Ammo Somal

Ammo is an engaging writer, researcher, and communicator, with a penchant for humor. Back in the UK, he worked in communications and creative for everything from insurance companies to video game festivals. Ammo’s skills as a content/multimedia coordinator have been honed through creating and managing content and planning multiple editorial ventures.

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Shame – a herd of tone-deaf celebrities


I use the word “herd” because of the NSFW nature of my preferred term. 

Oh boy, there’s nothing like the 1% reaching down from their busy, glorious lives to give hope to us undeserving peasants in these trying times. How wonderful of them to acknowledge us, the unworthy, the sick, and the poor! Hear their angelic voices as they ring out from above in a poorly thought out rendition of ‘Imagine’, like the most overpaid A cappella group you’ll ever see.

This ground-breaking sing-along understandably drew a fair amount of criticism

As is customary, when a global crisis strikes, we’ve seen a slew of out-of-touch celebrities take to social media to use their platforms very… inefficiently. We’re also seeing poor Drake having to suffer the plight of using his private basketball court, Sam Smith is living the unthinkable nightmare of having to stay inside his $14m mansion, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is scolding people while bravely putting himself through the ordeal of a jacuzzi. The list of these brave and noble titans goes on, unfortunately. We’re so glad they’re here for us.

As long as they don’t come near us untouchables, that is.

Advertisers, where do we go from here?


When things started to hit the fan, many brands hit the brakes on any content or ads they had planned, including us. Whether you think that the more prominent brands genuinely cared or were just trying not to piss people off is up to you. The question remains; how do we proceed from here? Friend of Phlywheel and Truly, Chris Penn had this to say in a recent email:

“There’s currently a massive content glut. Reach out to your audiences and create content that solves specific problems for them, but expect potentially lower performance as people have more, better options than ever before.”

We love to talk about the importance of knowing your audience before even your first post or press release. At this time, it’s best to really heed that advice. People may be social distancing, but they are more social than ever. Quarantine has caused an explosion in social media use. The audience is all there, but the reason why they’re there isn’t a nice one, so tread carefully.

Capify’s latest study talks about the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior. I encourage you to check it out because it’s absolutely fascinating. For example, consumers are seeking refuge in established brands:

“Part of Captify’s study looked at our current must-have products, and the list reads more like your mom’s shopping list that search history, with the likes of M&Ms, Lysol, Clorox, Bacardi, and Cheerios all seeing huge spikes in interest.”

It goes to show that brand building pays off in times of crisis when it’s tough to otherwise get the word out about your product. So, where do we go from here? Well, I’m not 100% sure. But what I do know is that we go there very carefully and with in-the-moment thinking.

Golden arses – McDonald’s creates gap in logo… and logic


To uh, show solidarity to those practicing social distancing, McDonald’s Brazil pulled apart its golden arches to practice some itself. 

This alone would be something to file under “trivial things a brand did today,” however when you consider that McDonald’s lobbied the Trump administration to fight against paid sick leave during this outbreak, it suddenly looks a lot more like a hollow gesture. And yes, I get that McDonald’s in the US and Brazil are technically different entities, but they’re the same brand, so the actions of one arm of McDonald’s could and should affect the other.

It looks like the empathy machine is broken today.

COVID-19 emails: the Jehovah’s witness of marketing


I’m sure that you’re aware that COVID-19 emails have been flooding your inboxes more than ‘nice guys’ once they find out they’ve been playing Call Of Duty with a woman.

Slate has created a compilation of the best, worst, and weirdest. I’ve also compiled some brilliant reactions below:

From food stores, retailers, restaurants, and uh, gay fetish gear, it looks like everyone really wants you to know that they care about COVID-19. So, no matter what happens, remember that filthy rich celebrities, corporations that don’t want to pay employees, and every brand under the sun has your back… and they’re approaching it with a knife in hand.

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