They say necessity is the mother of invention. It seems, with our necessity to socialise, we’ve birthed a new wave of creativity in the digital age.
Of course, the ever-changing situation feels bleak and precarious. Nobody knows how long this ‘lockdown’ is going to last, or how many job roles will be lost/changed forever.
Does isolation really inspire creativity?
You’ve no doubt seen the references to Shakespeare and Newton circulating the internet right now. Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague. Newton discovered gravity in quarantine. Bla, bla, bla. (What was he doing outside under a tree anyway? Careless so-and-so.)
A cursory Google search tells us there are two schools of thought. Some cite history’s greatest geniuses and loners – Einstein, Mozart, Jobs. These thinkers say isolation gives us an “increased focus on our surroundings”. They add that the “lack of stimulation” forces us to be creative. Necessity. Invention.
Others say that true creatives seek out new experiences to learn from others. In Deconstructing the Lone Genius Myth, researchers Alfonso Montuori and Ronald E. Purser advise: “Creative individuals are more open to their environment, which provides them with the context for creativity.”
So what of this coronavirus? This writer thinks it’s a little bit of both.
Praise be to God for the internet memes
…or, you know, anybody with a computer and a sense of humour. I cannot tell you how many memes, videos and close-to-the-bone jokes my sister’s husband Whatsapps me. Nor can I begin to recount my favourite coronavirus/self-isolation memes.
Yes, it’s a very serious subject and we should not be mocking the healthcare side of things. But can we laugh at ourselves during these times of forced incarceration? Oh, yes. I even made this half-arsed comedy attempt to mock all the Zoom screenshots on LinkedIn. (See above.)
Advertisers up their game
It’s a true marketer’s apocalypse: nobody’s allowed to sell anything, so we shouldn’t bother marketing, right? Wrong. This is 2020. We’re all about adapting to changing environments. Donald Trump is president, for goodness’ sake.
Over in Brazil, the famous Golden Arches embody a more careful approach – socially distanced to what we will assume is two metres apart. Time Out magazine pokes fun at itself by rebranding as Time In. Even the summer Olympics, which have been rescheduled for July 2021, are reimagined in artist Jure Tovrljan’s corona-inspired artwork.
The really useful stuff.
Now, take it from me – I think marketing is really useful. Especially, you know, content marketing that you can outsource to a freelancer. (Subtle as ever, Thompson.)
But beyond the need to adapt our brands, we have a national response to adapt to an emergency. These heroes deserve points not only for ingenuity, but for highlighting the gravity of the situation.
Ford and General Electric have joined forces to make life-saving ventilators. Burberry is “re-tooling” its Yorkshire-based coat factory to make non-surgical gowns for NHS staff. And Brewdog, best known for quenching the nation’s thirst, is now turning its attentions towards making hand sanitiser.
These are just a tiny snapshot of the global effort to overcome and adapt to this crisis. Don’t even get me started on the Nightingale hospitals. Makes you feel pretty insignificant for sitting at home watching Netflix, right?
Let your creative side shine
Now, dear reader, I implore you to use this time to get creative. No more sympathy emails. (Guilty, I’ll admit.) No more “this too shall pass”. No more use of the word un.effing.precedented.
Mix it up a little. Give us a blog about your fondest memories. Create personalised mementos for your clients. Invent a new meme. Time is all we’ve got now, so what have you got to lose? You never know – it could just be the next lifesaver.