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The United States of Pandemica

For those of us lucky enough to still have jobs, the mind-blowing reality has undoubtedly sunk in. We’ve got a LOT of catching up to do.

And no matter how many times Larry Kudlow repeats the word “recovery” on CNBC (like Dorothy clicking her heels together, wishfully willing things to magically return to the way they were), we are a LONG way from the metaphorical ‘Kansas’ of a healthy economy.

If you’re a marketer surveying all of this madness, well…you may be feeling a little disoriented. Like a hurricane evacuee returning to the pile of rubble that used to be your home, wondering how you’re going to pick up the pieces and rebuild all that what once was.

Adding insult to injury, you’ve got a gaping hole in your marketing plan the size of Wuhan. So, which celebrity astrologer predicted all of this? Exactly. A catastrophe of this magnitude surely would have been foretold in at least one of Nostradamus’ many quatrains…but no such luck. We were blindsided and cold-cocked by a novel coronavirus.

But your proverbial horse is ready and waiting. Are you ready to get back on?


You don’t need another ‘free white paper!’ or lunch-hour webinar to figure out that the ‘normal’ way of doing things isn’t going to cut it in your new reality. What you DO need is to understand exactly what that means. We’ll be blunt: it means time to scramble.

To hell with process when you desperately need to make progress, right? Even more than before, it’s about survival of the fittest. And the Zoom-iest. It means running the 2-minute offense and calling audibles at the line of scrimmage. Making things up as you go along. Breaking the rules if you have to. And maybe even tapping a few hyper-efficient role players to jumpstart things again.

“But I don’t have the budget for THAT?!?”

No. You probably don’t. But you don’t have the time not to, either. Because results have never been more critical. We’re all looking at expedited timelines. Minimally Viable Products. Abbreviated sales cycles. Supply chain kinks. Distribution nightmares. Whiplash-inducing pivots in communication strategy to ‘cause-related’ and ‘values-based’ messaging. And it seems like each week that passes holds yet another (missed?) opportunity.


For 20 years, we’ve lived up to our name as the ‘agency alternative’ in good times and especially bad. Because when you recognize that the same way of doing something isn’t getting you the game-changing results you need, it’s time to try something else.

And that’s the whole point. ‘Something else’ doesn’t mean trying literally anything else. It means hand-directing the kind of supercharge-my-ROI changes that will keep you going until the dust settles.


Believe it or not, there’s actually an upside to this historic meltdown that you can use to your advantage. Think about it. Expectations are pretty f**kng low across the board. Which means the stage is set for someone’s heroic rise. Yours, maybe? Yes, the flip-side to all this devastation is that there are opportunities for new growth budding beneath the surface. You just have to know where to look.

Streaming video viewership is spiking. People continue burning hours on Instagram, TikTok, and smartphone games. News viewership is up. And there’s a deep hunger for sports. We’re turning to delivery instead of going out. Looking for home improvement projects. Shopping online. Actually reading our daily mail. Did someone say “Mask-vertising”?

There are opportunities present in these widespread anthropological changes in behavior. Just think about your own experiences. What have you been doing more of in the wake of doing less traveling, commuting, mall-walking, recreating, and socializing?

People everywhere are looking for help, hope, and mindless escape. And, for many, their businesses and livelihoods hang in the balance. What roles can our products, services, and company/brand values play in their lives now? We may have to dig a little deeper to find the truths that keep us connected, but these truths will bind us that much closer together.

If you’re not quite ready to throw in the towel, let’s climb back into the ring and get this comeback going already.

Plan B named among Chicago's Top Ad Agencies