Ad agencies have had to scramble to create uplifting, serious and emotional commercials in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. "Ad after ad invokes ideas of family, and supporting workers, and all of us being in this together," says Meredith Haggerty. "That’s all fine, even nice as long as you can believe that a company’s values are the same ones they advertise, which, historically, you can’t. This is not what reassures me. What reassures me is that even brands that just want to sell you stuff can’t avoid the virus. The Covid-19-aware ads feel surreal, like background details in a Don DeLillo novel, and the sheer volume of them is overwhelming. Pizza chains promise not to touch your pie, telecommunications companies pledge to keep us connected, a certain fast-food behemoth touts McDelivery. They create a constant drip of our new reality that only ends if you agree to turn off your TV or at least watch Netflix, for god’s sake. After weeks of political figures downplaying the problem, and news stories about everyone from teens to boomers flouting the social distancing guidelines, a stream of reminders that give credence to the threat feels something like good to me. The world is different now; pretending that it hasn’t changed is dangerous. The ads keep me from forgetting; they keep me from that horrible jolt when you let yourself think everything is normal but then remember that it’s not."