Everything is personal now.

Latest marketing headlines & resources

  • Mattel is releasing a line of front-line worker inspired toys and donating net proceeds to #FirstRespondersFirst. To us, it feels uncomfortably on the razor’s edge between exploitation and good will. 
  • As people begin to settle in, they are getting pretty sick of seeing dramatic COVID ads. People want optimism and escapism again. So, as we’ve been advising – unless you have a product or service that directly helps at this time, there is no need for a “we’re in this together” ad. If you are addressing the pandemic, consider something lighthearted and fun, like this recent AT&T ad.
  • Speaking of escapism, Chips Ahoy is deploying a Sour Patch Kids Cookie.

Our current thinking – “Everything is personal.”

Damian Buchman is a warrior, a friend and a client who beat “one in a billion odds” (that’s the doctors talking) to survive a double dose of childhood cancer and take up the crusade of fighting for people affected by disabilities – a community that suffers from disproportionate levels of sickness, sadness and death in part because they don’t have the same sports and recreation opportunities as everyone else.

Damian’s mission is to build The Ability Center in Milwaukee, a fitness, recreation and research Mecca where everyone can play together – including people with disabilities and their family and friends. 

I wouldn’t bet against Damian. He has more practice ignoring experts who say, “that’s impossible” than anyone else I know. Also, the man scares me with his ferocity and persistence. 

Last week, I sought Damian’s counsel as I prepared for another non-profit client; I asked him, “What’s the most effective way to ask donors for funding right now?” 

He listened to my usual suspect tactical ideas – a video, powerful stats, emotional stories – before finally interrupting:

“Everything is personal now. Everything is scarier. The only way to ask anybody for anything is to look them in the eyes. And if you’re not asking for something that people truly need right now, just shut up.”

Everything is personal now.

Everything is personal now because we are NOT “all in this together” and we are NOT “all in the same boat.” 

David Geffen’s boat is much bigger than mine, literally. 

My figurative boat is much bigger than millions of workers in developing countries… and many of my friends’ close to home too. As a bachelor in a spacious condo with a business that’s been relatively uninterrupted, my quarantine experience has been one long spa retreat compared to my real estate buddy who’s wife contracted the virus and went into total isolation… the same day his SIX (6!!!) kids were sent home from school… and all his landlord clients started freaking out.

“We are in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat” goes the line from a popular piece that’s circulating online right now.

No kidding. 

As marketers, we approach our audiences on massive scales – huge populations – and search for common denominators ranging from the basics like gender and geography to more sophisticated insights such as “how do they see the role of doctors in their lives?” We do this to flatten many people into one generic persona, an approachable target.

As marketers second and humans first, I think we need to throw these tools out – along with platitudes like “we’re all in the same boat”– because they hide the truth: our country of 330 million is experiencing this pandemic in 330 million different ways.

1 virus. 330 million battles. 

So before we ask our fellow humans for anything – money, attention, sympathy – let’s first ask, “How are you doing?”

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. That old saying has never been more relevant than today.

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