Swapping spit, hard pants and hope: new ads imagine life after a pandemic


If the orgiastic mass of closely entwined bodies wasn’t enough to prove it, the saliva trail probably did the trick.

As envisioned by a batch of new announcements from a variety of companies, people should be ready to mix – really mix – once millions of vaccine injections have been delivered to millions of arms.

Menswear brand Suitsupply launched a new campaign on Thursday that could be described as suggestive, if it leaves anything to suggest. It shows writhing bodies barely clothed and models kissing under slogans like “The new normal is coming.”

The ads may surprise anyone who has become used to a world of face masks and social distancing. Not so long ago, the notion of saliva was considered so triggering that chicken chain KFC dropped its “finger licking good” catchphrase, calling it “the most inappropriate catchphrase for 2020.”

There were racy ads during the heyday of the lockdown, such as a campaign by clothing brand IVRose for pajamas that exposed the butt. But pajamas were ideal for the quarantine homebound culture, meaning they fit in with the many commercials that featured brooding shots of people separated by glass doors and windows.

With the latest generation of ads, companies are betting on people being eager for human contact.

“It’s pretty obvious that post-pandemic life is on the horizon,” Suitsupply founder Fokke de Jong said in an interview. “We have done social distancing for long periods of time, and that conditions people to be afraid of social interactions, which is totally understandable. But we wanted to show a positive outlook on a future where people can get back together and get close again. “

The campaign, which will run primarily online, was filmed in Europe with existing partners and following pandemic production protocols. De Jong hopes the ads will spark interest in Suitsupply clothing, which he said is not meant for work from home.

“That moment is coming again,” he said. “We’re going to ditch the sweatpants pretty quickly.”

Other companies are also betting that people will soon focus more on their appearance. Urban Outfitters is seeing an increased demand for dresses and other trendy clothing. Gym memberships and body waxing appointments are on the rise.

Now ad creators are re-familiarizing customers with the idea of ​​a world where cuddles and crowded parties are not out of place, though not without some caution. Neal Arthur, COO of the advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, said that “each and every one” of the company’s clients are seriously considering what is appropriate to show and when, now that the end of the pandemic seems to be at hand. sight.

“Customers are all over the map right now,” Arthur said. “It’s almost like the acceptance stages. There is no light switch approach. No one is saying, ‘Let’s pick a day and go all out.’ It is an acceleration of preparation for when it becomes clear that the prevailing feeling is that it is okay to be back in the world. “

Still, Arthur noted, an industry that relies on measuring public sentiment is experiencing a “moment of optimism that it would be foolish not to communicate.”

The Shapermint modeling company released TV commercials this month called “Remember Dress?” One shows a woman lounging in sweat on her couch who is persuaded by a fancier version of herself to wear more than soft pants. And Diesel has an exciting new campaign, “When Together,” featuring couples who meet again after a long time apart.

In a recent announcement scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day, the Guinness beer brand had American football great Joe Montana offer a “toast to our future.” “I toast to the return child in all of us,” he says.

But even as the pace of vaccinations increases and employers solidify back-to-office plans, variants of the coronavirus are spreading, funeral homes remain overwhelmed, and scientists continue to call for caution.

Almost exactly one year ago, Delta Air Lines withdrew its national advertising. He’s kept quiet while trying to be “really calculated and deliberate about when is the right time to come back responsibly and how to do it,” said Emmakate Young, the company’s director of brand strategy and marketing communications.

A new Delta campaign is scheduled for late May or early June, when more people have been vaccinated and are considering travel, Young said. The company intends to continue showing masked employees for the foreseeable future, but is “moving away from lonely shots, empty airports and empty stadiums and black and white,” he said.

“We are looking for optimism and hope that we can go back and get back to normal,” he said. But it is incredibly complex; we know that people are at very different points in their comfort level, and we want to reiterate that everything we did in 2020 is not going to go away. “

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