We Are All In This Together? On Sinking Ships, It’s Every Man for Himself

titantic sinking

What’s the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic? It is a global health crisis. Some say it’s an economic crisis and we need to get back to work now! Others say in order to solve this economic crisis, we must first solve the public health component! And unfortunately, some wingnuts have even labeled the pandemic a government conspiracy and thus a civil liberties crisis.


In the US we’re closing in on nearly two months of this “new normal”. That’s an eternity in modern, agile marketing. I believe this rallying cry has grown tired and stale and is in need of a fresh, hip update.

But first, I need to know… who is this “We” everybody keeps referring to? Time to do some digging. As today’s marketer (digital native) likes to say…

  • “Let’s look at the data (or make it up).”
  • “Let’s talk to some stakeholders (business-speak for unemployed people).”
  • “Let’s engage and share advice with LinkedIn influencers, experts, and thought-leaders (lobotomy via GaryVeeisms). “

From Wall Street to Main Street: You Can’t Get There From Here

Wall Street

  • A gazillion dollar bailout.
  • The Fed has the magical power to leverage money it receives from the Treasury up to 10 times over.
  • Little to zero transparency and oversight into which companies receive funds.
  • No public insight into terms of funding (e.g. equity position, employee guarantees, etc…)
  • Government blackmail
    • The for-profit healthcare industry threatens thousands of jobs and 50% premium hikes unless a multi-billion dollar federal bailout is approved.
    • ditto for the airline industry, hotel industry, restaurant industry, cruise industry, etc, etc, etc…

Main Street

  • 27M+ unemployed in five weeks.
    • delayed unemployment benefits due to an overwhelmed, unprepared, and negligent 50-year-old state and federal legacy processing systems.
    • Worse yet, many states by design have made it damn near impossible to receive assistance.
  • A one time $1,200 Stimulus Check
    • According to Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin “provides economic relief overall for about 10 weeks.”
    • see delayed unemployment benefits,
  • 12-35M Americans will lose healthcare coverage DURING A FUCKING PANDEMIC!
    • The US is the only country in the world that ties access to healthcare to an employer.
    • The for-profit healthcare industry has cut thousands of jobs and threatened 50% premium hikes unless they receive a multi-billion dollar federal bailout.
  • The SBA Paycheck Protection Program designed to help small businesses keep employees on payroll has been a complete shitshow.
    • Political connections and program loopholes have allowed public companies with millions in cash on hand and access to other sources of capital to tap funds, fire employees and pay executives massive bonuses.
    • Banks handling the SBA PPP have made more than $10 billion in fees in Round 1 and potentially billions more in Round 2.

Pandemic. We Got This?

Furthermore, this pandemic has exposed another crisis that is barely mentioned. We have a full-on, five-alarm, DEFCON1 crisis of TRUST sweeping the globe. For those of us who have school-age children at home, just ask them, “How are the grown-ups doing at managing this pandemic?

Our words and ACTIONS are destroying trust in:

  • governments
  • politicians
  • companies
  • media
  • institutions
  • experts
  • data

…and will likely take a generation or two to heal, if ever.

Anyway, to cut this long-story-short, we would be well-advised to reframe the crisis at hand and update that tired, old pandemic hashtag with one that is much more authentic and familiar…





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