Episode 001 – It’s the End of the World As We Know It… Again.

Our first episode! We are living in an extraordinary period of human history. It’s April 2020 and the whole world is in the middle of its largest crisis since the Second World War. COVID-19 has gripped the planet and we’ve responded with various actions. Yet no one really knows when we’ll flatten the curve and be back to a new normal.

As a resilient group, most people are coping with the medical aspects of the pandemic… But what about the business and economic aspects? The economy is taking a massive hit and it’s likely going to get worse. Even though economic stimulus measures are being announced every other day, people and businesses are feeling it. Tourism, the service sector and many brick-and-mortar stores have taken the full force of this crisis on the chin. But even so, some businesses are finding ways to adapt.

As humans, it’s what we do. So far as we know, we are the most adaptable species on the planet. Aside from cockroaches, maybe. Or Water Bears… yeah water bears… you should check them out, they’re pretty cool.

Obviously, this isn’t the first crisis humans have experienced. We’ve had numerous others   and just like with those; we’ll get through this one. But it’s the way we respond to the crisis that will determine how well we’ll recover afterwards. This will be true for society, individuals, organizations and especially brands.

So on this, our first episode of Kill the Ad Man, we’re starting big. So big in fact that we’re dedicating the first two episodes of our podcast to Managing brand through crisis. In the first episode, we’ll look at the current COVID-19 pandemic and see how some brands are stepping up while others are flailing wildly. IN our second episode we’ll reach into the recent past to look at how brands have responded to crises that were more organization specific. Throughout both we’re going to talk about how some brands and their organizations responded favorably in the face of a crisis. While others… well, maybe not so much.

We introduce the podcast and how we came to name it Kill the Ad Man: it goes back to the start of the company nearly 10 years ago. Kevin Murray and Robert Schmidt introduce each other to the audience and give a little background on Rebox as a company.

So which brands are doing a great job of living their brand promise during the pandemic? Bauer started producing face shields at the end of March and within the first week had over a million orders. They released the design of their mask to the public and encouraged smaller companies to use the design and manufacturing process to get more to market right away.

Dyson developed a new ventilator in the UK in 10 days. And it looks like a Dyson! They’re waiting on approvals, but say they can make 15000 ventilators when they get the go ahead.

Ford is partnering with GE and 3M to make ventilators. Ford is also making face shields and has developed respirators for front line workers using the small seat fans out of their F150 line of trucks. They are living up to their messaging: Built Ford Proud. We’re sure people are holding their heads a little higher around Ford facilities right now.

We raise a glass to the craft breweries and distilleries that are keeping the doors open and making hand sanitizer by the barrel for front line workers and the public.

And who’s not doing such a great job? It seems that while airlines are taking a hell of a loss along with the tourism industry, they aren’t doing a lot to help themselves out any. Rob describes a painful experience with Sunwing, Kevin comments on how those Canadian traveller return funds are actually a loan, which seems both right and wrong at the same time. Not to mention the unnamed political and public figures who are using the pandemic to leverage their own personal brands at the expense of any sense of reality. Which is both greasy and gross.

Finally, we talk about this video which we came across from Under Consideration, and how nearly every big brand advertisement right now looks, sounds, and feels exactly the same way. We’re pretty sure these companies don’t all have the exact same brand, so why is no one standing out? Why are they all the same?

To sum up, maybe those in the B2B and B2B2C space need to take a step back and think about what they’re trying to say in this particular crisis. Things are changing and evolving every day. But if brands remain true to their core purpose and brand, they’re positioned to weather this fairly well.

Thanks for checking out the first episode of Kill the Ad Man. On our second episode, we have a look at how brands have handled other crises, some of their own making, some brought upon them. Either way, how they respond to the crisis informs what comes next. While that’s true for Global Events and Brands, it’s also true for small businesses as well.

Have feedback or a comment to make? Visit our contact page and drop us a note on our contact page. Think we’re full of it? Completely agree? Fall somewhere in between? We’d be happy to hear from you. If you want to learn more about what we do at Rebox – a B2B Brand Disitllery, visit us at http://wearerebox.com

Thanks for listening! We look forward to getting Episode 2 out very soon.


Kevin M. and Mr. Rob

If you want to read a bit more about some of the brands in today’s episode, please check out the following links:





Poor Airline Response:

Generic COVID-19 Video: