I was reading an article the other day that put forward this idea that really stuck with me: that we are all currently trapped in our own “infinite present.” Though not quite The Twilight Zone, we are in a strange reality where everyday is like the last and the future, for as far as the eye can see, seems like more of the same.

Without vacations and concerts and feasting at your favorite restaurants with friends, the promise of tomorrow looks very much like today and the days before it and that can create a bit of a numbing effect. 

So what to do?  Can’t say I have any grand ideas about that, but to me, the best approach is to find those little things that inspire us, make us laugh and remind us that it’s all going to be OK.  You are not alone in this Bizarro World, so we might as well drink from the half-full glass and keep the scales tipped towards the positive. 

Also helps if that glass is half-filled with your favorite Bourbon.

Google – “Thank You, Teachers”

Kicking off this week’s selections is for those of us who are parents and have had to deal with the ups and downs of teaching from home. Speaking from experience, it’s challenging and chaotic, but can also be very rewarding. We rarely get to step into someone else’s professional shoes and empathize with their day-to-day.  

 Why it matters:  Google tapped into something every parent is going through right now and made us all feel a part of a collective moment. Yeah, it can be really messy and it’s the celebration of that insight that makes this spot feel so authentic. It’s also a love letter to all the teachers out there to tell them how much we appreciate what they bring to our lives. No hard sell, just a quick acknowledgment at the very end that Google is supporting teachers and parent-teachers at home. Tastefully done and from a brand love standpoint, very impactful!

The details: Aside from the great footage, the Stealers Wheel track really ties it all together and tells you that it’s ok to have a laugh at yourself and everyone else experiencing the same challenges. Although Tarrantino left an indelible mark on this song, it’s that extra level of subtext that gives this spot a cool-factor that only the ‘right’ song can do. My guess is the creative thinking behind this started with that lyric and built from there.

Farmers Insurance –  Crowd Control

When it comes to golf, silence is key and the crowds are constantly being hushed as a player sets up for their next shot. So on one hand this should be a blessing in disguise, but as you can see in this spot, sinking a hole-winning putt just isn’t the same without the visceral roar of the crowd.

Why it matters: As society starts to slowly reopen, professional sports is having to reinvent itself a bit by playing without fans. My family likes watching Bundesliga soccer, and this past weekend was the league’s first set of matches since the pandemic took hold in mid-March. It was great to see our favorite teams and players, but pretty surreal without all the fans in the stadium. On the positive side, for the first time you could hear every noise on the fieldfrom the player chatter to the physical contactand it almost made you forget that we’re still living in a very restrictive time. That is, until the camera panned around the empty stands. Regardless of that, it’s a positive step in the right direction and a boon to sports fans everywhere. 

The details: What’s amazing about this spot is that Rickie and his wife, Allison Stokke Fowler, shot it themselves practicing safe social distancing from their backyard in Jupiter, Florida. In addition, they also created a PSA with Rickie talking about Farmers’ $1 million pledge to Off Their Plate, a fundraising initiative through World Central Kitchen that helps frontline COVID-19 healthcare workers and impacted restaurant shift employees. Great job Rickie and Allison!

Old Navy –  Together

And lastly to tug on those feel-good emotions, Old Navy is focusing on the power and creativity of a singular artist to help celebrate and support families in need during this challenging time.

Why it matters: Noah Scalin is a visual artist who is best known for taking common, everyday objects and recontextualizing them. In this instance, we get to watch him create a large-scale mural in timelapse using Old Navy clothing as his medium. I love how beautifully interconnected this simple idea is and that the brand is leveraging their core identity to give back to the community.

The details: At a time when most retailers are struggling, I think it’s rewarding to see a message filled with love and hope from one. Old Navy is donating $30 million worth of clothing to families across America as well as 50,000 non-medical-grade reusable masks to longtime partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America. That’s certainly worthy of celebration and gives them an A+ in my book for positive brand building.