Reed Collins
Brand Strategy
COVID-19 and ‘The Tiger King’

This article was originally published on Warc.com.

There is a pandemic currently sweeping across the globe which has profoundly impacted society as a whole. It’s the new Netflix docuseries everyone is talking about: ‘Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness’. A true crime story of Joe Exotic, the self-proclaimed ‘gun-toting gay redneck’, and a whole cast of undesirables from the underworld of big cat breeding. It is the type of absurd, sensational escapism weary viewers are hungry for right now. 

But once you’ve binge-watched all 8 episodes, reality bites.

The more worrying spread of COVID-19 is THE topic on everyone’s mind. And quite rightly so. It continues to tragically cost innocent lives, shatter businesses and consumer confidence in an uncertain time marked by strict city lockdowns, growing unemployment prospects and fragile financial markets. As people across the world forcefully embrace this ‘new normal’, brands are facing unprecedented challenges and venturing into unknown territory.

But should brands quietly wait for the storm to pass? Refrain from mentioning the pandemic and maintain a ‘business as usual’ mindset? A recent Kantar survey suggests that the answer to both questions is no — only 8% of consumers think brands should stop advertising due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the firm’s COVID-19 Barometer research surveying more than 25,000 consumers across 30 markets.

A few things are certain: This is a rapidly changing situation with every nation trying their best to control the spread of COVID-19 at different stages of the curve. People are overwhelmed, confused and frightened (including CEOs). Brands are engaged on a tightrope walk that could have long-lasting positive OR negative repercussions. And that Joe Exotic, for the time being, is the perfect escape from it all.

Let’s take a look at some recent examples from brands that have sprung up over the last few weeks to help illuminate a better path forward as this crisis continues. Because, truthfully, some brands have nailed their reactions, while others in their haste have not.

Read in full here.

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