A year ago we set The Royals a task to creatively respond to coronavirus. Exactly 12 months on, we’ve set a new Royals challenge — respond to the statement “coronavirus is now like … ‘. Here’s what we came up with.

Ken Sum


Coronavirus is now like…

Nervous as … it ain’t over yet.

- James from Finance


In one COVID-19 year I’ve…

  1. Gone through 200 rolls of toilet paper (don’t worry, I live with 5 others.
  2. Played over 100 games of Catan before landing on…

In a big year, this year’s birthday was a big one for me. I turned 25 which, in my mind, is when you enter adulthood and level up to a fully-fledged member of society. People say you become an adult when you turn 18. You’d take that back if you met me, then.

I was planning to celebrate my birthday by throwing a shindig at my new place, but COVID-19 had other plans. As the clock struck midnight on the 9th of July, I was given the greatest present of them all: Stage 3 lockdown.

As the world around us…

My heartbeat is like a rhythmic thunderclap in my chest. I’m apprehensive and restless. I’m standing in a room behind the stage of a small theatre with 10 others. We’re about to perform a show that none of us know the lines to. There’s no script, no set characters, barely any planned structure.

We’re all from different backgrounds — a nurse, a corporate consultant, a scientist, a few students. I test and build websites. We’d met just two months earlier and then gathered in a dingy classroom once a week where we’d completely throw out our egos and interact in…

Think about the year so far…

Fires. Floods. Planes grounded. Cities locked down. Jobs lost. Kids homeschooled. Super accounts drained. Skyrocketing national debt. And for many, loved ones lost. If there was a maxim that 2020 has rammed home, it is surely this:

“Want to make God laugh? Tell her your plans.”

The COVID-19 wrecking ball has reminded humanity that our ability to predict the future is woeful. Despite what economists, politicians, journalists, and trend forecasters say, we are routinely “fooled by randomness” — finding patterns, trends and predictability where they don’t actually exist. …

This is a story about creativity.

Not a blockbuster campaign or a celebrity-fuelled spectacle. But a poignant idea that was born into the world at just the right moment.

It’s a simple, inclusive idea. Something anyone can do, and it celebrates First Nations’ people and encourages learning and respect in a way that is both positive and healing.

This is a story of serendipitous connections and opportunism but, above all, creative kindness.

This is the story behind ‘Signs of Respect’. A campaign that asks all Australians to CultureUp! …

Throw Away the Script: What Mike Leigh’s filmmaking can teach creatives

Johnny (David Thewlis) and Louise (Lesley Sharp) calm amongst the chaos of life in Mike Leigh’s Naked.

Recently I watched Mike Leigh’s Life is Sweet. It was a recommendation that director Dylan Harrison of Hooligan Collective made when we were on a shoot for Charles Darwin University.

We were filming real uni graduates — not actors — receiving real voice messages from loved ones who were proud of their achievements. We made three people cry — beautiful tears of joy — and released a series of heartwarming short films.

That meant doing something that made me nervous as a copywriter — throwing away the script. We…

Humans don’t deal with uncertainty well. We like to have a plan, a timeframe and a light at the end of the tunnel. When we lose our confidence, we shut down. The COVID-19 crisis has seen markets crash and business stall. Our industry’s clients have become rabbits-in-the-headlights, and many don’t know what to do next.

But many brands will use this time to actually kick into gear and take some market share. I believe this pandemic will last six months or more, but once the initial shock has been processed, new ideas and ways of doing business will start to…

COVID-19 has changed us. So, as The Royals settled into isolation, we set a challenge. Creatively respond to the statement ‘coronavirus is like…’. Here’s what we came up with.

- Ken Sum

This fetish of the apocalypse I’ve been carrying for years
Has started feeling real enough to peel away my skin
See, I went six months without remembering any of my dreams
And now they’re all about the things that used to bore me
Sometimes it seems as if the cracks in the walls are getting bigger
Sometimes it’s easier to keep laughing at the spaces in between
Maybe I’ll start digging. Maybe we should…

“Don’t buy this jacket.” And then all the reasons why you shouldn’t. That was the full page ad in the November 25, 2011 issue of The New York Times. On Black Friday no less. Patagonia proved that they stood for something more than really cool, really comfy outerwear.

It’s just one example of the nineties and noughties rise of brands that stood for — and against — things. For rights, for progress and against discrimination.

Think the United Colours of Benetton, collaborating with photographer Oliviero Toscani to produce ads featuring multiracial lovers, child soldiers and dying AIDS patients. Or Warby…

Please Talk About Fight Club: Professional wrestling takes back the belt

Beaten into submission for being a fake-tanned, sexist pig that was stuck in the past, professional wrestling has emerged victorious from the jaws of defeat. The Royals’ Content Tag Team Champions, Dan Michael Jones and Dave Rood, get in the ring to find out why.

“It’s like watching professional wrestling,” US Congressman Tim Ryan tweeted after President Trump’s State of the Union speech in early February. And he was right.

Trump orated with the subtlety of a hyped-up ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage cutting a promo. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi…

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