- The Ad Council has teamed up with the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and major media networks to create PSAs about the coronavirus, the nonprofit announced in a press release.
- Viacom and the Ad Council together developed #AloneTogether, a social media campaign that encourages people to stay home, Adweek reported. The campaign features Viacom's youth-oriented brands such as MTV, Comedy Central, CMT and VH1, and will include live takeovers from celebrity talent, a TikTok challenge and a YouTube livestream.
- NBCUniversal created a series of digital videos and social graphics to educate high-risk populations on how to protect themselves. Additionally, PSAs from the Surgeon General give advice for the public and offer a script for organizations to share with members. The Atlantic, iHeartMedia and ABC/WaltDisney Television are also distributing PSA messaging.
The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly escalated in the U.S. over the past week, and the Ad Council's multipartner, cross-channel campaign aims to establish a clear message on how people should behave to slow the spread. The Ad Council is the bridge between the government entities, including the White House, the CDC and HHS, and major media networks. The objective is to create a trusted online source for factual real-time information at Coronavirus.org, and then use a multichannel approach to get these messages in front of consumers as quickly as possible.
The social media campaign from Viacom is particularly interesting. It taps into consumers' feelings of uncertainty and isolation and tries to offer a calm answer in the form of its #AloneTogether hashtag. By coordinating across its youth-oriented brands and corresponding social channels — especially with a TikTok challenge and a "Chill Out 24 Hour Livestream" on YouTube Live — Viacom can better reach the millennial and Gen Z audiences that are being urged to stay home.
Several of the participating media companies are likely to lose ad revenues during this time as sporting events and seasons get canceled. Viacom-owned CBS Sports and Disney-owned ESPN are among those networks that will see losses in ad revenue from cancellations. However, there is an opportunity for media companies to reach consumers at home through entertainment and content that can take their minds off the stress of the current situation. But not showing enough care and sensitivity could lead to backlash, so partnering with the Ad Council for a PSA campaign appears to be a safer way for networks to communicate during this crisis.