I'm moving in a few days. My current home is a hot mess of moving boxes, utility carts, and product purges that put home shows on the TLC Network to shame. On top of that, my work/life balance has ceased to exist and a cold front has just snapped over the Chicago area again. Suffice it to say, I'm tired, I'm stressed, I'm cranky, and I'm in dire need of a few days off.
Regardless of my own personal dealings, my inbox continues to runneth over with product pitches and alerts about what fun collaboration so-and-so is working on. Normally I look at these kinds of things and chuckle. When I write humorous news briefs during less-stressful times—say, around Christmas or on April Fools' Day—I find considerable joy in the way brands can make fun of themselves through goofy "products" or other fauxlaborations.
But the ratio of "Ha Ha" to "WTF?" has been staggering lately.
During a recent work call, I voiced my irritation with the phrases "The new normal" and "During these uncertain times" that I keep reading and hearing. Things were uncertain and newly normal 10 months ago. In 2021, they just are.
What 2021 is teaching us about vaccinology and attitude seem to be on par with what 2020 taught us about infection control and empathy. Some people seek to understand and want to do better by society while others have what I affectionally refer to as "ZFG" (Zero F-word-I'm-not-supposed-to-use-at-work Given). We're now in Year Two of the nightmare-that-is-covid and lessons in social distancing have been replaced with public service announcements and freebies for getting vaccinated.
Coddle Me This, Batman
When I first saw that Bud Light was giving away free beer and concert tickets, my immediate thought was YESSSSSSSS. PLEASE OH PLEASE YES!!!! I MISS BEING ELBOWED BY THRONGS OF PEOPLE WHILE DOUSED IN BEER. Believe it or not, that's not sarcasm in my writing; that's me actually missing something I'd grown tired of.
I've written about Budweiser's work with the Ad Council. I thought reallocating the Super Bowl media spend on pandemic response was a nice touch. But now I keep reading about how different Anheuser-Busch brands are attempting to help the masses get vaccinated and I'm getting a little tired of the hand-holding. At what point do we lay down our syringes and tell the non-believers "no beer for you!"?
Hard No on Soft Pants
Unpopular opinion here: I can't stand 'soft pants.' Soft pants is another term for anything that isn't jeans or slacks and it's been relegated to mean sweatpants or leggings. I'm not just a hard yes on jeans, I'll even go so far as to say I'm a fan of the leg prisons.
When I see that a company or brand has released a fun new set of soft-pant-infused athleisure wear, I consider the source and give a solid nod of appreciation. Garbage Pail Kids Hoodie? Heck yes. Take me back to my misspent youth. Aldi-hoodies & undies? Um, no. Why would I want to wear my grocer near my goody bits?
As I contemplate why anyone would want to rock Aldi joggers, my pandemic exhaustion has prompted me to think: Have we gone too far with all of these pandemic-infused promotions? Can we press pause on the efforts to keep the globe comfortable again? Can we ruffle a few feathers while we tell people to buckle up and grab some jeans & a Band-Aid; perhaps warn people life's about to get bumpy again?