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Tone-Deaf Advertising During Covid-19

With the pandemic now just a part of everyday life, companies and advertisers must take extra special care to not appear insensitive in their messages and marketing. Some companies had to pull ads this year due to poor timing or tone deafness.


Here are some examples:


1. Geico’s “The Perfect High Five”


In March of this year, Geico released a commercial that compared switching insurance to Geico felt just as good as a perfect high five. The high five is so good that even the boss wants one. This commercial received backlash from audiences for going against the safety measures of social distancing and eventually, Geico pulled the ads.


2.Norwegian Cruise Lines


Another result of poor timing, Norwegian Cruise had several ads promoting their ocean getaways. Unfortunately for them, they had a commercial play right after a news segment talking about the Grand Princess cruise ship which was unable to return to shore due to the Coronavirus. Sadly, that was not the end of their problems as the number of people going on cruises harshly declined this year as well.


3.Cremated” by Jeffree Star


In May of this year, make-up artist Jeffree Star released a new eyeshadow palette he named after a catchphrase he likes to say, “Cremated.” This was seen as poor taste by some as morgues were becoming overcrowded from the virus and had to start cremating bodies to make room.


4.KFC finger lickin’ good


The final one we will look at is KFC and their famous “It’s finger lickin’ good” slogan. Several commercials and ads from KFC were released this year showing customers eating the fried chicken and licking their fingers clean. They were then bombarded with complaints about how everyone should keep their hands away from their mouths during a pandemic. KFC followed suit by pulling all the ads down.


What do you think? Were the companies a victim of poor timing or perhaps a lack of foresight?






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