Flashback to 1 March 2020… Let me paint the picture. 

It’s Friday afternoon at Redtorch HQ. A friendly (seriously competitive) table tennis match is in full swing, and discussion of the impact of an impending lockdown on the sporting calendar, marketing and morale is underway. 

None of us could have predicted the situation we’re in now. 

At the time, we were full of positive ideas and plans that seemed realistic and achievable for ourselves and our clients alike. 

We’re used to working with global clients so took the idea of #WFH in our stride. As we approach the 8th week of Lockdown Life, however, some of our initial expectations have turned out to be slightly different in reality…

Team video calls 

Expectation: Taking a few calls a day means we’ll be able use our client relationship skills with our own team and become even stronger. Common sense will prevail and the process will run as smoothly as it would have done face to face. 

Reality: It’s 8:57 a.m., 3 minutes before the first call of the day. I’ve lost my hairbrush and the WiFi isn’t connecting. We all laugh and speak at the same time. Discovering Snap Camera has turned out not to be a short-lived fad. We can all be potatoes for a video conference, and everyone’s happy about it. 

Redtorch rating: 8/10 (being an animated potato is much funnier than we might have thought.) 

Watching sport re-runs 

Expectation: Joyous! We all love sport, and re-run moments are legendary: they might  have set us on our career paths; we’ve laughed and cried over them with friends; they provide a powerful history we can reminisce over in the future. Our fans – one of the main reasons why we do what we do – will enjoy and value reliving these occasions. 

Reality: There’s an online mob on one of the feeds, shocked and appalled that we’re holding a live event! The branding from 2015, the description and the haircuts don’t seem to have given enough clues…

Fast forward to 2 a.m. and I’m debating the worst moments from sporting history in a heated WhatsApp group chat. Karen Bardsley is under fire for her howler during the England V Belgium Euro 2016 Qualifier. We go to bed feeling like we did on that night in 2016: confused and disappointed. (Sorry for this K Bards, we still stan you!) 

Redtorch rating: 5/10

More time at home with loved ones

Expectation: We’ll be able to spend all day with the people we most love and care about. We’ll be able to bake, play games, reminisce, and learn new skills together: a strong, happy unit. We’ll be able to keep in touch on a regular basis with those far away. 

Reality: All boundaries have disappeared! No more dedicated work area as any free space get a green light. Signs of a disastrous game of Monopoly are scattered across the floor. There’s leftover banana bread on the bedside table. My parents were adamant I needed 87 tins of Heinz tomato soup: these are now a decorative display and central feature of the room. We are 147 episodes deep in MasterChef Australia, wear teams shirts when watching, and now bet on soufflées!  

Redtorch rating: 9/10 (I’m actually having a lovely time ❤️)

Exercise & healthy eating 

Expectation: There’ll be so much time to exercise, to focus on physical and mental wellbeing. I’ll cook meals from scratch for the week ahead with lovely fresh produce! I’ll soon be smashing my running times, maybe I’ll even be ready for that marathon…

Reality: “The milk went off X amount of days ago, does it smell okay to you?” is our morning greeting. I can’t move after last week’s 5k (it felt like 5 miles) and that Kit Kat Chunky definitely just winked at me… 

Redtorch rating: 2/10 (for personal failure)

Event cancellations

Expectation: This is big. Lots of events are going to be cancelled. Hopefully, our incredible campaigns and unbelievable team will take things in their stride. We’re ready, armed, and full of enthusiasm. We’ll be ahead of our competitors and learning every step of the way. 

Reality: This is without doubt a super-scary and unprecedented time. Yet from the first moment of our (very real) panic, new strategies and creativity have gone through the roof. Wow! It’s as if Beyoncé and a unicorn are running the world. 

Yes, events have been cancelled. But the meaning, the messaging and the love behind sport have flourished. For us sports marketers this has created opportunities where we can show one another support; where we can learn, listen and create events that everyone can enjoy from the comfort of their sofa – onesie on, wine in hand. 

Redtorch rating: 12/10