Brands: forget the gloom, the public is ready for fun

The UK is teetering on the brink of a second national lockdown, the furlough scheme has been extended, the pubs are closing, and those confusing Government briefings are returning to TV screens. So, obviously, I think it’s time for brands to start having fun again.

Brands: forget the gloom, the public is ready for fun

Because, despite all the scary stuff above, it feels markedly different to March, when the lockdown had an apocalyptic air about it – in my lowest moment, I ended up buying a 1kg bag of penne, and I’m not even that into pasta (although that’s probably the topic for a different opinion piece).

We’ve gone from bordering on apocalypse to just plain bored.

While some anxiety and fear will understandably remain, many people have had enough of it all, rightly or wrongly.

They’ve tuned out of the news bulletins which, at one time, provided the backbone to our days.

They’ve moved on from whatever bs hobby they obsessed over a few month ago, like a newly divorced bloke in his forties.

And I haven’t heard the phrase “family Zoom call” for months. Thank Buddha.

People are crying out for entertainment. It’s part of the reason why there was such uproar over the Premier League’s decision to make some games pay-per-view – the football was a route through the weekend, with all its entertainment and debate.

It’s why people are getting even more frothy than usual over the return of Strictly and I’m A Celeb; why a clip from the Great British Beige Off mocking Boris Johnson went viral; why grown men in chinos are genuinely hurt about the next Bond movie being postponed.

The public is ready for fun. For sarcasm. For, dare I say it, a spot of good old-fashioned piss-taking.

In the early months of Lockdown One, there was no room for such frivolity. We were all too busy shitting ourselves – hence the garage-full of bog roll – to be engaging in ridiculous things such as laughter. The only thing lighting up our WhatsApp groups were the latest death tolls.

Now, the thirst for borderline socially unacceptable content has sky-rocketed. It’s time to add some light to the shade of 2020.

So leave the bittersweet Christmas stuff to John Lewis, the stirring bit to the Queen, and the health messages to Chris Whitty – brands, this is your moment to have some fun with your PR again.

Lee Price is head of PR and mischief at Paddy Power

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