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Exchange of spits, tough pants and hope: new ads imagine life after the pandemic

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If the tightly nested, orgiastic mass of bodies wasn’t enough to make the point, the spit was probably the trick.

As expected from a series of new advertisements from a wide variety of companies, once millions of vaccines have been delivered to millions of the poor, people should be prepared to mingle – really mingle – once millions of vaccines have been delivered to millions of poor.

The men’s fashion brand Suitsupply released a new campaign on Thursday that could be described as suggestive if it were suggestive. It shows writhing, barely clothed bodies and models making out under slogans like “The New Normal Is Coming”.

The ads can come as a shock to anyone who is used to a world full of face masks and social distancing. Not so long ago, the term saliva was considered so triggering that the KFC chicken chain dropped their catchphrase “finger licking” and called it the “most inappropriate slogan for 2020”.

At the height of the lockdown, there were cheeky ads, such as a campaign by clothing brand IVRose for pajamas that bare the buttocks. But PJs were just right for the quarantine domestic culture, so they went with the many commercials with melancholy shots of people separated by windows and glass doors.

With the latest ads, companies are betting that people are looking for human contact.

“It is pretty obvious that life after the pandemic is on the horizon,” said Suitsupply founder Fokke de Jong in an interview. “We’ve been 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 for a future in which people can come together again and get closer again. “

The campaign, which runs mostly online, was filmed in Europe with existing couples and according to pandemic production protocols. Mr de Jong hopes the ads will generate interest in suitsupply clothing which, in his opinion, are not intended for home work.

“That time is coming again,” he said. “We’ll get rid of the sweatpants pretty quickly.”

Other companies are also betting that people will soon focus more on their looks. Urban Outfitters is experiencing an increasing demand for dresses and other “outing-out-art” apparel. Gym memberships and body wax appointments are increasing.

Now advertisers are introducing customers to the idea of ​​a world where hugs and crowded parties are not out of place – if not without some caution. Neal Arthur, chief operating officer of the advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, said that “every single one” of the company’s customers is seriously considering what and when is appropriate now that the end of the pandemic seems to be in sight.

“Customers are all over the map right now,” said Mr. Arthur. “It’s almost like the levels of acceptance. There is no light switch approach. Nobody says, ‘Let’s pick a day and go all in.’ It is an acceleration of the preparation for the time when it will be clear that the prevailing feeling is that it is okay to be in the world again. “

Daily business briefing

Updated

Aug 16, 2021, 9:56 p.m. ET

Yet, according to Mr. Arthur, an industry that relies on measuring public sentiment is indeed feeling a “moment of optimism that it would be stupid not to communicate”.

Shapewear company Shapermint released TV commercials this month called “Remember Dressed?” One shows a woman lounging on her couch in sweatpants, being persuaded by a fancier version of herself to wear something other than soft pants. And Diesel has a hot new campaign, When Together, which features couples reunited after a long time.

In an advertisement recently coordinated for St. Patrick’s Day, the Guinness beer brand had football star Joe Montana say a “Toast to our future”. “To the comeback child in all of us,” he says.

But even as the pace of vaccinations picks up and employers solidify plans to return to the office, coronavirus variants are spreading, funeral homes remain overwhelmed, and scientists continue to urge caution.

Delta Air Lines stopped its national advertising almost exactly a year ago. It has remained calm as it tries to “really be calculated and thoughtful about when is the right time to return responsibly and how to do it,” said Emmakate Young, director of branding strategy and marketing communications for the company.

A new Delta campaign is slated for late May or early June when more people have been vaccinated and are considering traveling, Ms. Young said. The company wants to continue to show masked employees for the foreseeable future, but rejects “the loners, the empty airports and empty stadiums and the black and white,” she said.

“We’re looking for optimism and the hope of getting back to normal,” she said. “But it’s incredibly complex; We know that people are at very different points in their comfort levels and we want to reiterate that everything we did in 2020 is not going to go away. “

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