Creativity in the Time of COVID-19
Chase Koeneke | Associate Creative Director

One of the scariest things to a writer or a designer is a blank page. The overwhelming amount of possibilities leads you to never making an actual decision. “Analysis paralysis” they call it. So even as our world is upended by a dangerous global pandemic putting enormous restrictions on our everyday lives, it’s precisely those limitations that allow for some truly creative ideas to blossom.

Take horror streaming service Shudder, who just offered a 30-day free trial — up from their normal 7-day — to new members when they use the promo code “SHUTIN” (nicely done.) If you’re not frightened enough by what you’re seeing on CNN, Shudder’s also making a daily recommendation so you can get the very most out of your trial. I’m a bit too much of a scaredy cat, so I’ll stick with the Bob Ross Joy of Painting Marathon on Twitch, thank you very much.

Unfortunately, since we’re all staying inside, local restaurants — especially those without drive-thru or delivery options — are feeling the squeeze. That’s why two PR firms, HP-PR and Hall PR, have led the initiative for what they’re calling “dining bonds.” The idea is simple: buy gift cards to your favorite eateries now (some are even offering them at discounts), and then redeem them later. The restaurants get the money they need to get by for now, and when things aren’t so…contagious outside, you get a nice meal at an even nicer price.

But if you’re looking for a lunch date, maybe try Chipotle. Their “Chipotle Together” campaign is connecting up to 3,000 fans with celebrities in video-conferenced Zoom calls. From Bachelor contestant Colton Underwood to a virtual concert by Portugal. The Man, Chipotle is proving eating at home doesn’t mean having to eat alone.

Human ingenuity is a hell of a thing. When our resourcefulness is tested, that’s when we do our very best work. Pressure makes diamonds, or so they say. And there’s nothing quite like a little worldwide crisis to really get the creative juices flowing. Or maybe that’s just the creeping anxiety beginning to mix with the cabin fever. The point is, in these times of uncertainty, a clever way for brands to aid their audiences may pay even bigger dividends down the road. So try something bold. Who knows, maybe it’ll go viral.

Wait, no, that’s not a good word right now. Ugh, you know what I mean.

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