By Nigel Smith, CEO and Founder of Next Step Communications

A recent tweet captured my attention when the author shared ‘breaking news, COVID-19 treatment was 80% successful at reducing spread.’ I fell for it — clicked and it was a face mask. 

To mask or not-to-mask — that is no longer the question on how we each can participate in keeping our communities as safe as possible in 2020. However point made — if a pharma company had this kinda news its stock would rocket. 

cakeHowever, over the weekend I read a story picked up by media all across the country that spoke to what has to be done to help reduce the spread and return to ‘flattening the curve.’ Beyond wearing masks, large public gatherings have been highly discouraged across the nation. Reflecting on these recommendations, Costco feels it is irresponsible to sell their sheet cakes — not because of our caloric intake, but how their desserts are intended to be used. 

While shocking that it has gotten to this point that home or backyard parties fueled by cake might need to be stopped in order to slow the spread, the change is nonetheless an honorable one for the brand. In marketing, we cannot be naive to how a product will be used in the real world. Kudos to Costco for understanding how their products are used. 

Buying 40 rolls of toilet paper (when it’s in stock!) is reasonable for a family of four for 6 months. And there are certainly households where a sheet cake (in the Smith household of four) intended to serve 48 pieces might only last 5ish days. Regardless, we should applaud these efforts. While Costco is not a healthcare brand (with the exception of the pharmacy department), their decision to suspend the sale of products designed to be consumed at large public gatherings shows that no brand should be tone-deaf to our existing circumstances.