The current COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic has resulted in a wave of advertising and marketing approaches that are based on commodified concepts of human connection, care and community in a time of crisis . At the core of many brands ’ marketing messages – whether these be supermarket advertising campaigns or celebrity self-branding – is the notion that ‘ we ’ re all in this together ’ . While it is true that the impact of COVID-19 has affected the lives of many people around the world, not everyone is experiencing this crisis the same way, due to structural inequalities and intersecting oppressions . What is the relationship between COVID-19, capitalism and consumer culture? Who is the ‘ we ’ in the messages of ‘ we ’ re all in this together ’, and how might such messages mask distinct socio-economic disparities and enable institutions to evade accountability? This article examines sub-textual meanings connected to brand responses to COVID-19 in the UK context which rely on an amorphous imagined ‘ we ’ – and which ultimately may aid brands ’ pursuit of productivity and profit, rather than symbolising support of and concern for people.