Covid-19 fatigue is real, but marketers are still responsible for their brands

Victor Koaho, IMC Lead at The MediaShop

After seven months of being in Lockdown most people are currently experiencing Covid-19 fatigue.

During the initial period in winter most consumers were confined to their homes, with some not being able to earn a living. This also resulted in businesses being unable to sustain themselves, as they were observing the regulations put in place by the government. Many businesses could also not afford the salaries of their employees, with some businesses still unable to re-open due to lack of income.

At the beginning of September, we saw club owners, promoters and musicians take to the streets of Johannesburg and Durban, stressing that they had not worked in six months and it was proving to be difficult to provide for their families. For example, events that drive a lot of visibility for brands and engages with consumers, such as the Durban July, DStv Delicious and Macufe couldn’t take place because of the pandemic. Some well-known sporting events also couldn’t take place, with some having to opt for digital events.

However, with the lockdown regulations being relaxed since 16th September 2020, people have come out in numbers to be active and continue with their lives. It seems that consumers have forgotten about the pandemic, and those who were complaining about their businesses being impacted are already operating as if there was never a pandemic to begin with.

Consumers are visiting places of entertainment without observing the basics of social distancing, wearing masks or sanitising. People have been arrested leaving places of entertainment on weekends around 02h00 in the morning as opposed to closing at 24h00 midnight.

The interesting thing is that its these very same owners, promoters, and musicians who were complaining about how their income had been impacted who are now flouting the law, but as marketers and brands we are equally to blame, as we associate our brands with these activities without putting measures in place to ensure that these festivities adhere to the current regulations that are put in place.

Towards the end of November brands and distributors will be talking about Black Friday and encouraging consumers to participate in getting products and brands at a cost-effective rate from their nearest stores. Knowing how South Africans respond to sales, this day could become a nightmare to manage with potentially thousands of people not adhering to social distancing regulations.

So the responsibility to ensure that we don’t get back to level 3 or 4 is upon us as marketers to keep reminding the companies that distribute our brands and their respective consumers that we are still under lockdown regulations and should behave. Let’s not be reckless because this could have more devastating effects on our economy, which will also result in brands losing out on further valuable revenue.

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