Chris Kay
May 28, 2021

Optimism 2.0

72andSunny's APAC CEO believes it's time for the ad industry to encourage clients to loosen up and help usher in a new era of optimism.

Extra Gum's 'For When It's Time'
Extra Gum's 'For When It's Time'

As we awake globally from our Covid-induced slumber it's clear that as we rub our eyes and squint at what the new world might look like, it could be time for a renaissance in what we do best.

History has taught us that after moments of severe shock to the world, our collective immune system responds with a rapid kick of positivity and a heavy dose of renewed optimism.

After the Black Death it was said that Europeans became more adventurous, post the Spanish flu the world seemed to wake up and become more innovative, and (perhaps the best example) the Roaring Twenties saw a war-ravaged society awaken with an incredible spending boom, stimulating a moment of real change in the world (as well as, judging from the black and white photographic evidence, some pretty epic social moments).

It might be too early to say it as some countries fall back into states of lockdown, but as more nations begin to open up, are we rebooting the world with a spirit of Optimism 2.0?

The green shoots of change first started in the US in the Super Bowl this year when brands like SquareSpace brought Dolly Parton back to popular culture to celebrate a new way of working, or when Uber Eats brought Wayne and Garth back to life to remind us how dumb and fun it used to be when Wayne’s World first came to our screens.

Even though we are not yet to the Roaring Twenties, we have seen more of this optimism in new ideas from the last few weeks. For example, the remake of the Diet Coke ‘Just Because’ song in a super stylised, cool and upbeat way. The ‘Play New’ work from Nike celebrating just playing and nothing else—so simple and easy right? And the euphoric release of the Extra Gum ‘For When It's Time’ ad, showing how we are all ready to get back out there and forget about the distance we have had forced between us. 

All of these are showing it's not time to remind consumers how tough it’s been, but to chart a new course for how life can be, or in the most simple way, tell us it’s okay just to be. 

And I think that’s the point of this moment. It’s a chance for brands to loosen up a bit again, it's time for tear jerkers pieces to be over, we want to move on, and we want to do what we are best at. 

So maybe it's down to us all to find a way to loosen up the system in our companies, to give our people a bit more freedom and engender more fun again as we return to work. If we do that then the broader world can feel it in what we do, as they have always seen the fun we have in our work when it's there whilst being made. And then in some small way our industry can help usher in a new era of optimism and joy in the world at a time when it needs it the most. 

Chris Kay is APAC CEO and partner at 72andSunny.

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