This Parody Ad Directs You to the Most Useful ‘Useless Covid Microsite’

By Minda Smiley 

We’ve seen a lot of parodies of Covid-19 ads—so many, in fact, that they’re starting to feel as trite as the real spots.

Another one landed in our inboxes, aptly called “Sh*tty Times.” As you might expect, it’s full of the usual fodder: melancholy piano music, footage of empty streets, kids painting rainbows and doing other cutesy things that vaguely allude to hope.


But this one isn’t parodying for parody’s sake. The video asks brands to shelve the schmaltz and instead do something that can help: donate media and production dollars to small businesses and charities in need. Basically, it’s asking marketers to stop trying to promote their products and services right now and use that money to help out those who really need it.

The faux PSA was pulled together by Josh Greenberg and Evan Slater, founders of creative studio Caveat. The two also set up a website called Useless Covid Microsite, which lists a few orgs that connect nonprofits with pro bono media space. And if you’re still craving more, they’ve posted a tongue-in-cheek “behind-the-scenes” video that shows how “Sh*tty Times” came together.

Now, you could argue that the marketing dollars being spent on campaigns are helping the people who work for ad agencies, production companies and the like stay employed. And there’s no guarantee the reallocated money would go to them.

Still, we get the point. Companies that can still afford to advertise right now are probably in better shape than most. So maybe they should probably try and help the little guys out instead of trying to feign sympathy with “now more than ever” and “we’re here for you” messaging that’s falling flatter by the day.