At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, advertisers let us know that “we are all in this together.” At first, it felt as though we were all in this together, through our collective grief in being locked inside the house, and finding some way to navigate e-learning, but, somewhere along the way, responses to COVID-19 quickly became political and we were no longer “in this together.”
Advertisers now realize that “We are all in this together” grew tiresome and trite and now that message no longer resonates. People wanted to go to restaurants, get haircuts and not wear masks, confusing the word “freedom” with the right to spread a potentially fatal disease, or at least the right to not listen to accept scientific consensus. Lumped together with “in these uncertain times,” “we are all in this together,” now makes me cringe when I hear it.
Now we are nearing the of the most unusual Back-to-School season ever. Here is a sampling of messages I saw while looking at the most recent Sunday flyers:
“Work from Anywhere”
“Learn from anywhere”
“Open for Business – Let’s Tell the World”
Even the cover of Parade magazine had the word “Homegating.” This is our reality right now: we have to be flexible to learn and work from anywhere. Many people are not going back to the office, and many students are not going back to school. As advertisers have been forced to reckon with this reality, I’m curious if it opened up new lines of business for them – those of us that are long-hauling it in the home office or the home school?
Our school district opted for a hybrid model of learning, with the option for all e-learning. Our family decided on the e-learning route. While we bought them some new clothes and supplies, we spent less than normal for the back-to-school season. I’m curious to see how retailers fared this year, and if our experience was normal.