Isolation Log: Necessity is the mother of invention

Adland is taking some blows right now, but the industry is putting up a good fight.

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building on the new." -- Socrates

Change is hard, especially when unexpectedly thrust into one’s life. The coronavirus pandemic has altered the daily routine and livelihood of everyone around the world, and now, we’re all adjusting to the "new normal."

So far, advertising and media agencies have been doing their best to produce, create and serve clients in this world of virtual conferences. But the last couple of weeks haven’t been easy for the industry.

Layoffs, salary reductions, hiring freezes, delayed payments, Zoom pitches.

While it’s not going to get better overnight, we can look at this time as a challenge – one that will push for more innovation, creativity and unity in adland.

Nancy Hill, CEO of Media Sherpas, said to me on the phone yesterday that one of the positive things to come out of this horrible crisis is that it may drive some necessary change in the industry, like reducing costs and overhead.

"Necessity is the mother of invention," she said, quoting the famed proverb which means people find new ways of achieving goals when it becomes imperative to do so.

And we’ve been seeing that already. Manifest Group, with offices in New York, London, Stockholm and Manchester, launched an online tool this week that connects those in need with a local volunteer.

Huge Chicago Senior Product Manager Sean Lynch and owner of PR agency Grapevine Jenn Galdes teamed up to create a tool for restaurants and farms that aggregates local supplies in cities all around America.

Zambezi decided to not let space go to waste in supermarkets by putting up signs on empty shelves that explain why people shouldn’t hoard goods, like toilet paper. The graphics also showcase CDC guidelines for staying prepared and healthy.

Campaign US has also been hearing about agencies trying new ways to produce content remotely, such as asking talent to film videos or voiceovers at home, focusing on animation or using more CGI-based footage.

The truth is: We don’t have an end date for the COVID-19 disruption. We do know that adland is resilient, and it’ll come out of this – maybe a little bruised – but stronger, more innovative and ready for the next chapter.  

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