It was has to be the stupidest response to Covid-19, America's stupidest governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has imposed advertising restrictions until April 30th.
This order that the nation's stupidest Governor proclaimed "prevents the large stores (those with over 50,000 square feet of commercial retail space) which are permitted to remain open from advertising anything but "groceries, medical supplies, or items that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of residences." The order also bans advertising short-term vacation properties "except as necessary to assist in housing a health care professional or volunteer aiding in the response to the COVID-19 crisis."
I wasn't aware that you could get Covid-19 from watching a commercial but this is what life is like in Stupidville, where first amendment rights are thrown out the window and restrictions on what is considered "non-essential items," are not only absurd but arbitrary.
For instance, landscapers and golf courses could open up again provided everyone maintains social distancing. How either of these are considered essential in a state which is still seeing snow and temperatures dip below freezing at night is beyond me, but again, we're dealing with Governor stupid.
Another example of stupidity at large: is that certain items you can't buy in big box stores because they are non-essential, but you can order them online or get them through curbside pickup.
In other words, it's safer to have someone bring you an item to your enclosed space car than go into a 50,000 square foot store.
The Association of National Advertisers is calling on Governor Stupid to be less stupid. It reads in part:
This ban almost certainly violates the First Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. It has lots of very practical problems. For example, it singles out a segment of the retail industry without any explanation as to why only large retail outlets are included in the ban. No evidence is provided that advertising for these stores would be less safe. The order also is vague, because it is hard to identify what is and is not within the ban. It is not clear exactly what items are needed for safety of a home. The ban might limit the ability of a large retailer to advertise that it has in stock fabric for use in making face masks. The order is counter-productive, because the governor calls for maintaining “communications and information technology, including news media” because they are essential to the functioning of the state. But advertising is the life blood of these news and information organizations, and this ban would undermine their capacities and limit the economic support for the programming they carry. Lastly, advertising the innumerable activities important to everyday life is critical to supporting our already damaged economy and helping to ensure that it is poised to recover as quickly as possible.
This sweeping advertising ban should not be allowed to stand. ANA calls on the Governor to reconsider and rescind this part of her executive order.
Say what you will about the citizens of Michigan deciding to protest by creating grid lock (another dumb idea during a pandemic when first responders need to get places) but with a collapsing economy, there isn't one industry, advertising included, who comes out of this unscathed. Except for those who work in the government, of course.
There is a petition to recall the Governor that has nearly 275,000 signatures. Here's hoping a few of them are from the ANA, and people who work in Detroit ad agencies.