Getting creative during a pandemic


At Midnight we are passionate about the creative industries. Whether it’s words on a page, film or design, we’ve been keeping a close eye on how the creatives are communicating around the pandemic.

At Midnight we are passionate about the creative industries. Whether it’s words on a page, film or design, we’ve been keeping a close eye on how the creatives are communicating around the pandemic.

You’re all probably growing weary of the same depressing language and communications around the pandemic. If we read one more sentence which kicks off with: “We’re all living in challenging times, difficult times or unprecedented times…”, we may just lose it. And we suspect it’s causing many other people to switch off too.

But what about the creative that disrupts this dreary narrative? Well it’s music to our ears. There is some truly inspirational and beautiful work out there, which believe us, will leave you with goose bumps.

Here are some of our favourite recent examples.

A short film by agency Truant London is simply captivating. It questions what moving towards the new normal really means and asks what was so normal about life before the pandemic anyway, as we watch images of congestion, pollution and clashes between Black Lives Matter protesters and the police in the USA. The film, called Second Chances, features narration in the style of an American preacher and calls for people to live a better life and embrace this second chance. There’s a great review of the film here on Adweek.

Meanwhile this simple, straight-forward advert by Tesco reported on by Marketing Week, got the thumbs up from data insights and consulting company Kantar. It offers practical advice to shoppers about how they can stay safe in store and explains why changes have been made. Interestingly Kantar’s research suggests that adverts which talk about the current situation, but don’t have anything different to say from the next brand are not resonating with consumers. Instead the research suggests a lot of what we’re seeing around coronavirus ends up looking exactly the same.

Meanwhile if you’re looking for design which raises a wry smile, what about these travel posters by Jennifer Baer? They are an absolute joy, with a dark sense of humour juxtaposed with vibrant images instructing us to Visit Your Houseplant, Take a Trip to Your Own Bathroom or Surf Your Couch in the style of 1930s railway posters which would, under normal circumstances implore us to visit Brighton. And they even got a mention in top marketing title The Drum.

As a team we were all blown away by a video campaign for Boundless, the membership organisation for public sector and civil service workers. There’s been a remarkable turnaround in the way the nation feels about public sector workers, probably in part due to the key role they are playing in helping us during the pandemic.

A survey carried out by Boundless found appreciation had increased by a staggering 84 per cent in the space of a year. Now look where we were a year ago when Boundless asked public sector workers when they were last thanked for doing their job – the survey shockingly revealed that the average key worker had gone 57 days without a thank you.

Now the same survey has been repeated ahead of this year’s Public Service Day – and the figure has dropped to just nine days. That’s an 84 per cent difference in 12 months across all public sector roles. In the NHS, the figure has dropped even more dramatically - from 43 days to two days. That’s a 95 per cent difference. We’ve already seen the video and believe us when we tell you - it’s powerful. But you can see it when it launches to the public on Public Service Day (June 23) here:

And finally, we couldn’t go without mentioning this beautiful campaign by Anomaly London. It’s about Pride London and was featured by Campaign. As Pride events across the globe have been shelved, including our own sensational celebration in Brighton, the ad illustrates the need for support and solidarity in LGBT communities. It also touches on members’ experiences during lockdown, including a gay couple who are lucky enough to be able to share lockdown together. We also learn about a regular drag show organised on Instagram, while some share that they are nervous about coming out of lockdown because of the prejudices they will have to face. It ends with the message that while Pride has been postponed – we’re still united. Now let’s raise a glass to that.

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