When the pandemic first began, we were flooded with ads about these "Unprecedented times"; marketers simply couldn't help themselves.
So of course, the "Return to Normal" ads we're starting to see now were inevitable.
First out of the gate was Extra with their hilarious "Fresh Start" ad. Extra gets credit for being first, capitalizing on a terrific insight, and making us laugh.
But every ad that follows is going to be held to a higher standard, and eventually, we're going to be sick of "Return to Normal" ads too.
Fortunately, that hasn't happened yet, and in the last week, we were treated to these two gems, courtesy of Guinness and Pepsi.
I'm not a big Guinness drinker (I don't drink much beer at all), but I love this spot.
Have you ever broken up with someone you cared about, and then immediately afterwards, everything you see around you seems to remind you of what you used to have? This is the powerful insight being applied to Guinness... and it works, primarily because Guinness has spent decades investing in an ownable, iconic asset: the dark beer with the white head. (On a related note, they also used this asset well last year to encourage us all to stay at home.)
This ad is a visual masterpiece. Plus, the rendition of "Always on my mind" is beautiful, and the sentiment is certainly appropriate.
Pepsi: The Mess We Miss
Pepsi's "The Mess We Miss" wasn't as powerful as the Guinness ad, but it made me smile.
It also made me cringe and scream at my screen on several occasions, on account of the lengthy pandemic and what we've all been trained to do to avoid the spread of COVID:
"Wait, you're touching food after your fingers have been in a bowling ball that everybody has used?!? NO! DON'T DO THAT!!!"
"Your faces are TOO CLOSE... BACK UP! BACK UP!!!!!"
"WE'RE IN A PANDEMIC, DAMN-IT!!!! DO NOT SHARE A CAN OF PEPSI!!!!!"
But the spot is called "The Mess We Miss"... so I suppose that was entirely the point.
(A hat-tip to my friend Hilton for sharing this one with me.)