The coronavirus pandemic will end but the memories will remain – and memories can be used to make good money. Emerging from self-isolation should be similar to coming home from a long exotic or extreme adventure trip. Many people will want to celebrate it by posting a fridge magnet saying “I survived COVID-19” or wearing an “I love telework” or “Always ready to self-isolate” t-shirt. Post-coronavirus merchandise will go like hot cakes.
Monetizing memories has grown into a gigantic industry similar to entertainment.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup confidently showed that Russia fit perfectly into this trend. Millions of consumers were happy to buy a bunch of trinkets with the World Cup symbols, regardless of how their national teams played. Even if their team lost, it did not discourage fans from spending money on souvenirs.
In this sense, the COVID-19 pandemic is not much different from the World Cup or any other grand event that can unite people around the world. Six or eight weeks of self-isolation (even longer in some countries) will remain in people’s memory for years.
This extraordinary period will not be remembered just for remote work and study, but also for the forced idle time – which does sound like some unusual vacation. Once the restrictions are lifted, people will discuss this for months in offices, restaurants, steam rooms, fitness clubs, resorts and everywhere else they can go.
They will never forget this. End of story. The negative emotions they shared, the panic and uncertainty they experienced will seal those memories and prevent them from fading away fast.
Meanwhile, buying merchandise such as cool COVID-19 t-shirts, baseball caps and mugs is an excellent way to distract customers from negativity and focus on pleasant memories about the lockdown and self-isolation, even if few.
It is already possible to predict an extremely high demand for this type of products – and not only household items (t-shirts, bags and mugs) but also office stationery (pens and notebooks) as well as packaging, labels, stickers, badges, children’s toys, sports equipment, etc.
The variety of products is only limited by the imagination of creators in the industry of memories. In fact, it is about time businesses start working on post-coronavirus merchandise – while everybody can’t stop talking about. It is time to collect most viral slogans and most popular memes, hashtags and pictures about staying at home and working remotely. Time to improve, tweak, patent and launch.
Fortunately, industrial production in China is recovering and local manufacturers will be happy to mass-produce merchandise. They will even offer a good bargain.
By Igor Pylayev, Co-Chair of the Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia) Committee for the Development of the Film and Television Industry