Monthly Roundup - The COVID-19 Edition
Well.. March escalated quickly. I think we can all agree that last month takes the shittiest-month-so-far-prize. Times are strange, people are adapting to a new reality and none of us has any idea of when this will end. So this monthly roundup will focus on some themes around coronavirus - inventions, brand reactions, and culture's response.
Face Masks, Toilet Paper Quotas and Robots (obviously)
⠀ Fashion Meets Function In New Facial Recognition Mask
If you were worried about how to unlock your phone without having to faff about to manually type in your code *ugh*, Artist Danielle Baskin has got your back. Her new company, called ‘Resting Risk Face’ prints users faces on masks so that they can use the facial recognition technology while protecting themselves from germs.
Baskin got the idea for the masks after seeing people wearing regular masks in an attempt to protect themselves against Coronavirus. She discussed whether or not N95 masks are effective as protective measure against the virus and someone brought up the fact that you can’t unlock your phone while wearing one (duh).
The N95 mask fits over the mouth and nose to protect the wearer from liquids and airborne particles. They can be used as part of an infection control strategy, but it’s not yet known how effective they are against the spread of Coronavirus. The Resting Risk Face makes the facial-recognition masks by turning a 2D photo of someone's face into a 3D image to be printed on a mask.
"I was aware that it is a bit dystopian to sell a virus-related product, so I played into the dystopia," Baskin said. Resting Risk Face describes itself as a maker of "trendy dystopian product". We’re still deciding whether this is clever and cheeky or just advantageous and lame. Leaning towards the latter one.
The Toilet Paper Quota Controller
Times are tough, especially if you're in need of toilet rolls. Luckily, Instagram Account @unnecessaryinventons has found a solution to ensure we don't waste the precious, precious bog rolls. The Toilet Paper Quota Controller™️ limits users to one square of toilet paper per bathroom trip. As the global TP supply declines, their newest appliance will ensure that your rolls will last as long as possible. Simply push the side button to dispense one single square of precious toilet paper when it’s time to clean up. Now don’t forget to divide you 2-ply!
Robots vs Coronavirus
Technology has once again come to save the dystopian reality – this time the nightmare that is the coronavirus. China was quick to react to the extreme toll on society by deploying robots and drones to remotely disinfect hospitals, deliver food and enforce quarantine restrictions as part of the effort to fight coronavirus. Chinese media has reported that drones and robots are being used by the government to cut the risk of person-to-person transmission of the disease. ⠀⠀
This was especially useful in February, when 780 million people were on some form of lockdown in China. Wuhan, the city where the viral outbreak began, was sealed off from the outside world for weeks and the global death toll from the virus has now topped over 47.000 people, with over 964.000 infected. ⠀
Brands Get Creative To Help Quarantiners And The Healthcare Industry
Toy Makers Encourage At-Home Playtime In recent years, Mattel has consistently promoted a marketing message of the power of free play for child development. During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s amping up that push with a new resource for parents. They recently debuted Mattel Playroom, a one-stop shop with activities, tips and content from Mattel brands such as American Girl, Barbie, Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends. Updated on a weekly basis, the site will offer DIY designer tutorials and advice on how to play with toys. Hasbro has created a similar initiative, #BringHomeTheFun, which gives parents ideas to “reduce the reliance on screens.”
Like many other brands, Mattel also said it plans to produce face masks—in this case fashioned from Barbie and Fisher-Price fabric—for health care workers in need as the national supply continues to dwindle. Workwear brand Carhartt will shift its production as well to face masks and medical gowns—the brand plans to produce 2.5 million masks and 50,000 gowns beginning in April. Bravo, Mattel!
Uber Deliver Free Meals To Health-Care Workers Uber is pledging to deliver 300.000 free meals to first responders and healthcare workers on the front line of the pandemic across the U.S. and Canada. “We know that the work of medical and crisis response teams can be tireless, and the hours long; we hope we can help in a small way,” Janelle Sallenave, head of Uber Eats, said in a statement. In the UK, Uber are jumping on this initiative, offering free meals and rides for NHS staff.
Not only are they helping the first responders, but the also waived UberEats delivery fees for several markets to encourage people to stay home and support small local businesses.
BrewDog (amongst others) Produce Hand Sanitiser
The independent brewer BrewDog has begun making hand sanitiser at its distillery in Aberdeenshire amid shortages driven by coronavirus fears. Perhaps it makes sense that an alcohol company should make sanitizer – although it’s admittedly stronger than their usual beers at 60%. ⠀
BrewDog’s founder, James Watt, announced on social media that the company had started producing sanitizer to help with shortages in the UK. “We are determined to do everything we can to try and help as many people as possible stay safe,” he said. The brewery will be giving the sanitizer out for free to those who need it.
Other brands who are producing hand sanitiser include LVMH, beauty brand PAI, Old Fourth Distillery and drinks giant Pernod Ricard
Quarantine Isn't All Bad It Turns Out..
...The Memes Have Never Been Better
Never before have people related so much to the internet as now. There are literally no memes that are not in some way referring to COVID-19. Unless they're about the batshit crazy Netflix show Tiger King. Here are some of our favourites:
...That Cringy Video Of Celebrities Singing 'Imagine'
Thank you Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Jamie Dornan, etc, for blowing up the internet with the Instagram video that truly made us all feel uncomfortable. If you haven't seen it yet, it's a quick google search (and 4 wasted minutes) away. The one good thing it did was unite people of the internet, albeit for all the wrong reasons.
...And The Zoom Backgrounds!
It's tricky trying to figure out the new digital-meetings-only reality. But us *professionals* are having a great time as every Zoom call offers a new opportunity to show how creative we can get with video backgrounds (because no background is so pre-corona.)
From Star Wars, to Tiger King, to Joe Wicks living room, there's no limit to the scenarios we can show ourselves in. Our favourite so far belongs to Twitter accounts @FemaleCopywriter and @Dongtent who created the WorkFromHell background series. The series offers 10 free, downloadable background images - complete with rainbow colours and a nihilistic theme. Some of these include:
That's all, folks! We hope you're all staying safe out there. And don't forget to check out our Instagram @world__wide__weird for more weird and wonderful updates.