17 Things I’ve Learnt While Self Isolating

This is kind of going to be a reflective post, cause I don’t really feel like posting about anymore negative news and Coronavirus goings on. So I’m just going to have a wee chat with you all about some lessons and thing’s I’ve learnt this week while being in isolation. I’ve had a lot of time to think and do things.

  1. That I actually don’t hate going to work and uni everyday
  2. A little bit of Spanish, I’m learning it again. I’m planning on learning more because I used to speak pretty good Spanish, I’ve put my subtitles on in Spanish for my Netflix and that’s helping me remember some.
  3. That there is a limit to the amount of Netflix you can watch
  4. That playing a Virtual Pub Quiz with your family in your own living room is more fun than it sounds
  5. That keeping your sleeping pattern in check is hard
  6. That TikTok dances are harder than they look
  7. That daytime TV is not the one
  8. That some brands are getting their marketing strategies right and some are getting it wrong (check out: I SAW IT FIRST)
  9. That group Facetime calls with the girls are good for the soul
  10. That SIMS 4 is really addictive and not good for my uni schedule
  11. That everyone is getting Disney+and I haven’t caved yet, I also don’t really like Disney that much so I might not buy into it
  12. That the movies Contagion and The Platform will give you an insight into our situation and are definitely worth the watch
  13. That online shopping for clothes is less fun when you have nowhere to wear them
  14. That I’m grateful for my dressing gown and dog at this time
  15. That I took the little things for granted until now
  16. That I will never not appreciate simply being able to leave my house
  17. That being able to travel is a privilege and not a given

How Is Social Media Facilitating Social Distancing?

What is ‘Social Distancing’?

So if you’re reading this post you are probably social distancing. Social distancing can be described as an infection control measure intended to slow down the spread of contagious disease. In this case Coronavirus.

You may have heard people talking about ‘flattening the curve’, so what does this mean? Well this involves preventing a sharp peak of infections like what we have been seeing in Italy, to allow healthcare facilities to be able to cope and also provide time for treatment to be developed.

Here’s a simple diagram showing the effects of protective measures such as social distancing on flattening the curve. This is the reason that many of us are now in isolation in our own homes.

Promoting ‘Social Distancing’

So I’ve recently saw a lot of companies and LinkedIn users utilising their platforms to promote social distancing in different ways here are a few of my favourites:

Brands After Corona’ By BlueSteak Media

This campaign imagines what brand logos would like like in light of social distancing, I think it’s great as it uses recognisable brands that everyone is familiar with and takes a new take on them. This has great share-ability for social media and is great for creating awareness of social distancing.

#AloneTogether by ViacomCBS, Comedy Central and MTV

The Alone Together campaign has combined giants of the TV and Entertainment world to raise awareness for social distancing. The content utilises the power of social media influencers to share the message among their followers.

Making Social Distancing Social

So back to the title of the blog post, how is social distancing being made social? By Netflix Party of course. If you can’t have a movie night with your friends do the next best thing and download Netflix Party Chrome Browser Extension which allows you to watch the same programmes as your friends and chat about it within the same browser. Here’s a screen grab of Love Is Blind on Netflix Party:

This is a great way to stay connected with your friends whilst social distancing and I know I’ll definitely be utilising this feature. Although in everyday life it’s gets criticisms for making us anti-social, social media is really proving it’s original purpose in bringing people together at this uncertain time.

Support for Those Unable To Social Distance

Something I have also noticed is the amount of discount and support being made available for NHS Workers and those who are unable to self isolate and this is also being promoted through social. The below thread tracks all the offers and discounts available.

My International Women’s Day Winner and Loser of Advertising

Winner: The Apple Behind The Mac Campaign

The Apple Behind The Mac Ad really stood out for me this week as the best International Women’s Day Ad Campaign. At first it just seemed to be an inspiring advert celebrating women in business and tech. But upon further inspection every woman in the ad was shown for their particular contribution to their industry or their work for women’s rights, which I personally think is great.

Here are the women included in the advert:

Malala Yousafzai: The youngest Nobel laureate for her work on girls’ right to education.

Ava DuVernay: Director known for “Selma” and “When They See Us”.

Marie Kondo: Tidying expert, bestselling author and Emmy® -nominated television star.

Greta Gerwig: Director known for “Lady Bird” and “Little Women”.

Gloria Steinem: Women’s rights activist who helped start second-wave feminism.

Lady Gaga: GRAMMY® and Oscar artist and founder of the Born This Way foundation.

Megan Rapinoe and Shannon Boxx: Four-time World Cup champions, fighting for equal pay.

Olivia Wilde: Actor and director known for her feature debut “Booksmart”.

Diane von Fürstenberg: Fashion designer and founder of the DVF Awards.

Elizabeth Banks: Actor and director of “Pitch Perfect 2” and “Charlie’s Angels”.

Alicia Keys: GRAMMY® winning artist, touching hearts and inspiring the world through her art.

Lily Singh: The first LGBTQ woman to host a network late-night talk show in 30 years.

Audrey Gelman: C.E.O and first visibly pregnant woman featured on a business magazine cover.

Black Mamba: South Africa’s women-run anti-poaching unit.

Victoria Monét: On-the-rise artist and GRAMMY® nominee, known for her hit songwriting.

Tarana Burke: Founder of The ‘me too.’ Movement.

DJ Switch: A 12-year-old DJ and founder of the DJ Switch Foundation for education.

This was a very well thought out advert by Apple managing to celebrate women that awards shows have not this year. There is a great variety of sexuality, race and nationality represented in the advert which is great to see also. I also love the choice of music featuring Flawless by Beyonce in the background, who is also a powerful woman in the industry and has many empowering songs.

Loser: PSNI

I mean I’m sorry but I’m not sure who thought this was a good idea. I hate posting negatively about local companies but I couldn’t not talk about this as EVERYONE on Twitter was talking about it. The International WOMEN’S Day Event included the female staff having to nominate their MALE colleagues. Yes on International Women’s Day, women had to nominate men. The whole point of the day was kind of missed with this campaign. In a follow up video a representative tried to defend the campaign as supporting ‘equality’ of both genders in the PSNI but viewers weren’t impressed.

Is Disney’s ‘Onward’ a Step in the Right Direction for Inclusion or Another Example of Blatant Tokenism?

So I wasn’t sure whether to talk about this subject today, but it’s something that’s extremely important to me so I felt I should share my perspective. So when I heard that Disney Pixar was incorporating an LGBTQ+ character into it’s latest film I was obviously very excited by this prospect. Especially when I found out it was going to be a female character. But this is a prime example of expectations versus reality. Whilst I was expecting some beautiful Disney gay princess this is what we got:

So I have multiple issues with this:

The Appearance

Whilst I was expecting some beautiful and gorgeous Disney princess, I got this. I’m not saying this character couldn’t be considered beautiful but I don’t think young girls are going to see her as a role model. Her one eye and manly figure wouldn’t look out of place in Monsters Inc. and just feeds into negative portrayals of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Stereotypes

Obviously because the character is a lesbian she had to be very butch because apparently femmes don’t exist in the world of Disney and also a police officer. I mean could you get anymore stereotypical. I’m imagining a few Disney executives sitting in a room and thinking ‘What job would a lesbian have?’ Oh yes a police officer.

The Small Screen Time

Whilst I haven’t personally seen the movie and don’t plan to, I have heard that this character is only a side character and doesn’t have that much screen time or exploration. Appearing in one scene and casually throwing in a comment about her ‘girlfriend’ to get across that she’s gay. I think if Disney were really going to commit to this cause they could have at least gave us a main character and a little more exploration or character arc. Just another example of a brand/franchise throwing in a token LGBTQ+ personality to please both sides of the argument, whilst not upsetting traditional parents.

Maybe I’m being too harsh and other members of the LGBTQ+ community are just pleased to have been included but I feel the character is not an accurate representation of our community and is painted to look like some sort of freak. I feel this is a blatant example of lazy tokenism with a big company just trying to please everyone by I throwing in a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ LGBTQ+ moment. Can we please try and do better for our LGBTQ+ characters in Film and Television.

Tesco Proves Every Little Does When It Comes To Diversifying Their Product Range.

This week Tesco made headlines with a new addition their Health and Beauty Product Range. A new line of plasters which provided colour options in light, medium and dark. Something which has never before been done by a UK Supermarket chain and is a huge step in the right direction for inclusion of people of colour in the UK.

Whilst this might seem like only a small change to their product selection, it has received rave reviews from people of colour who hadn’t been able to find skin tone matching plasters before. The plasters also show the power of social media, as the product was developed as a response to an emotional tweet from a US Man who was able to find a ‘band aid’ in his own skin tone for the first time.

Nicola Robinson, Tesco’s health, beauty and wellness director, said: “As one of the largest retailers in the UK, we understand that we have a responsibility to ensure our products reflect the diversity of our customers and colleagues.

“We believe the launch of our new skin tone plaster range is an important step and a move that we hope will be replicated by other retailers and supermarkets across the country.”

Tesco, which is the UK’s biggest seller of own-brand plasters, said its new plasters would be available at all of its 741 UK stores.

The step to add these plasters to the range is a step in the right direction for Tesco’s representing all their customers and comes after fashion brands have been expanding their underwear ‘nude’ ranges and makeup lines have introduced larger shade ranges to incorporate all skin tones.

Hopefully this addition will see more larger companies follow suit and diversify their product range.

Mouldy Whopper: A Good PR Campaign or Simply Disgusting?

So a campaign that really caught my eye this week, was surprise surprise Burger King’s latest advertising campaign which has been widely talked about on social media. On first look it looks like it might be a campaign for Food expiry dates, spores included but it’s actually Burger King’s take on advertising their popular Whopper burger.

The Ad seeks to prove that Burger King’s food is fresh, by showing a Whopper Burger after 34 days, including an online video of the burgers decaying process. From the outset this might seem like a disgusting way to let customers know their food is fresh.

But actually in traditional Burger King style it’s another little dig at their competitor McDonalds. In November 2019 a video was posted online of a McDonald’s burger decaying over 10 years – spoiler alert it looked exactly the same after 10 years. See for yourself

So this Burger King campaign is a clever clapback to questions about the freshness of McDonalds food. But is an appealing ad campaign? Not really is the answer, most customers have expressed that seeing a mouldy burger wouldn’t want to make them run out and buy a whopper in a hurry. Clever yes, appetising, no.

Why Mixed Messages Mean Bad PR for Starbucks?

So if you’ve seen the recent Starbucks #whatsyourname Ad Campaign you probably know its a huge step in the right direction for Trans Rights. The campaign depicts a Trans male being able to choose his own name at the Starbucks counter when ordering a drink despite being upset at being called his birth name on other occasions. Watch the ad here:

When I saw the advert I thought this is amazing, what a positive and inclusive message for a huge company to be promoting. A massive win for advertising inclusivity in the LGBTQ+ community, something a lot of my research focuses on.

But then I was shocked to read that although Starbucks is promoting Trans inclusivity on a national scale they don’t have the same rules for their own employees. Former Starbucks employee Maddie Wade has spoken out against the company who she previously sued for misgendering and discriminating against her as a transgender woman.

Wade’s attorney, Arnold Peter, issued a statement calling the ad “a cruel slap in the face to their own employees who have faced hateful and derogatory discrimination in the workplace. The company’s attempt at marketing their position on inclusion and gender equality is both phony and hypocritical to their own employees who have faced discrimination while working in their stores.”

Other past employees have spoken out about their struggle to get gender reassignment surgeries covered. Many people joined the company after it announced it would be expanding its’ health insurance plan to cover top surgery and facial feminisation but this surgery was not obtained by employees.

Other employees have spoken out about not being able to use their chosen name within the company without first obtaining a legal name change, often a lengthy and costly process.

My take on this, maybe have a look at your internal affairs and what you can do for your employees who commit to building your business everyday before you try and cash in on the pink pound by releasing a hypocritical ad campaign.