WWTT? Post-Pandemic Vacation Daydreams Courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico

It’s not a question that COVID-19 has devastated multiple industries, but maybe one of the hardest hit has been travel and hospitality. While it might be hard to answer the question of should these brands be working on advertising right now, there is room for some thoughtful post-pandemic vacation messaging.

It’s not a question that COVID-19 has devastated multiple industries, but maybe one of the hardest hit has been travel and hospitality. From airlines to hotels to destinations big and small, they’ve all felt the pain, and are trying to figure out what they can do to stay in business and keep their employees safe and on staff. While it might be hard to answer the question of should these brands be working on advertising, I think there is room for some thoughtful post-pandemic vacation messaging.

The weather is gradually warming up in Philadelphia — usually by now I have a trip planned for May/June, with more mini-trip planning speckled out through the summer. But thanks to COVID-19, those plans and daydreams have been set aside. And not just for me — for pretty much everyone. So when Puerto Rico’s nonprofit destination marketing organization (DMO) Discover Puerto Rico reached out about a new campaign, I was intrigued (and ready to look at something other than the inside of my apartment).

Discover Puerto Rico’s newest campaign, “All in Good Time” has a simple, yet clear, message: “Right now, it’s time for patience, but soon enough it will be time for paradise — all in good time.”

Discover Puerto Rico’s series of videos are available on YouTube, and the marketing campaign will run across the DMO’s social channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

In an interview with CMO Leah Chandler, she explained that the campaign’s sentiment will remain “All in Good Time” until travel restrictions on the island loosen — then it will shift. ” … messaging will shift from ‘All in Good Time’ to ‘It’s Time for Puerto Rico,'” states Chandler. “We’ll carefully evaluate before this shift is made to ensure we market the Island responsibly.”

“‘All in Good Time’ is about reminding travelers that as much as we would love to host them, we know it’s not the right time,” Chandler shares. “Now is the time to stay safe, and soon it’ll be time to come explore our beautiful Island – ‘All in Good Time.’ We wanted to make clear that we’re in this together. The elements highlighted are, similarly, some of which truly define Puerto Rico – the hidden natural wonders of the Island.”

I appreciate that there’s no hard-sell of this campaign. No “get your plans squared away now so you can book as soon as travel restrictions lift!” Instead, the campaign is a gentle reminder of Puerto Rico’s natural beauty and place as a desirable vacation destination. It feels like a permission slip to let your mind wander and daydream a bit about a post-pandemic vacation, something I think we all could use.

But, in the meantime, Discover Puerto Rico is offering several virtual events via Instagram Live and Facebook Live. These are fantastic opportunities for people interested in Puerto Rico to go on virtual tours, and could end up converting them to booking clients once travel is possible.

Again, it’s about offering value, and Discover Puerto Rico is doing a good job of that while being unable to welcome physical visitors to the Island.

What do you think marketers? Having any post-pandemic vacation daydreams of your own? Drop me a line in the comments below, and stay tuned for a Q&A with Discover Puerto Rico’s CMO Leah Chandler in the next week or so as we dig more into this campaign and how the DMO is handling COVID-19.

WWTT? Coors Light’s New Campaign Calls It Like It Is — Times Are ‘Sucky’

Marketers have seen, and used, every available euphemism for COVID-19 in marketing messages. “Pandemic,” “crisis,” “uncertain times,” and “the new normal” are all accurate, but it’s beginning to sound a bit tired. Enter Coors Light’s new campaign, “#CouldUseABeer.”

Most marketers have seen, and used, every available euphemism for COVID-19 in marketing messages. “Pandemic,” “crisis,” “uncertain times,” and “the new normal” are all accurate, but it’s beginning to sound the same and a bit tired. Enter Coors Light’s new campaign, “#CouldUseABeer” and the fact that the brewer is calling these times like they really are: sucky.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWEwr3wrykQ&

As part of the ongoing “Made to Chill” program, Coors Light is giving away up to $1 million worth of beer via the new social media initiative. Legal-age drinkers can tweet at a friend, who can then receive a rebate equivalent to the price of a six-pack of Coors Light (in states where legal; Coors Light provides all promo rules here).

https://twitter.com/CoorsLight/status/1255128607682412546

What went from a 93-year-old grandma becoming an Internet sensation when a photo of her holding a Coors Light and a dry erase board reading “I Need More Beer!” turned into the brewery answering her plea for a cold one. And then, from that point, further inspired Coors Light’s new campaign, “#CouldUseABeer.”

Sure, this campaign isn’t necessarily changing lives drastically … it’s not providing PPE for healthcare workers, but it’s staying true to Coors Light and the brewer’s product.

Chris Steele, marketing director for Coors Light, commented:

“A lot of times, when you see someone working hard, doing something really good, you want to recognize them and you take them out for a beer. That’s not really possible right now, but we want to help people get that brief moment of pause and enjoyment that Coors Light provides.”

Coors Light’s new campaign features 15- and 45-second ads narrated by  Paul Giamatti who reminds us that Americans have dealt with really had times before, and during those times, beer kinda helped.

The marketing is relevant, and in my opinion, the message is spot on. These times DO SUCK. They’re hard and they’re scary, and the only thing we can do is take care ourselves and our loved ones, and make it through to the other side. And if responsibly enjoying a cold beer helps, I say go for it.

Because I’d rather see an ad from Coors Light — a beer I don’t drink — being unapologetically themselves than to have to sit through some somber ad telling me for the umpteenth time that some brand is “there for me.”

Better yet, if you want to talk about a brand offering value to its audience, Coors Light also has shared recipes for beer-battered waffles and beer bread for home chefs to try out. And on a philanthropic note, the brewer hosted a pre-NFL football draft happy hour with pro football MVP Patrick Mahomes and college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit on April 22. As a thank you for their participation, Coors Light made donations to the charities of choice for both men.

I think it’s amazing when brands step up and show how they can affect positive change during a catastrophic event such as this. But I also think it’s pretty great when a brand finds ways to just be there for their audiences, bring some joy and fun, and stay relevant.

What do you think marketers? Drop me a line in the comments below, and in the meantime, check out this really handy infographic from our friends at Hero’s Journey Content about how you can be a bit more creative when talking about these “sucky” times.

30 New Ways to Say Unprecedented
Credit: Hero’s Journey Content

Are You Prepared to Handle the Oncoming Martech Consolidation?

For those marketers who rely on marketing technologies while navigating an industry landscape that changes almost daily, here are four considerations to make when adapting to the oncoming martech consolidation.

In previous posts, I have often referred to the vast martech landscape as the land of shiny objects. This was a term of derision and admiration. The landscape is filled with amazing innovations. It also can overwhelm even the most tech-savvy marketers and cloud strategic thinking.

We marketers were often so enthralled by what we could do, we often lose sight of what we should do. Today, as the economic impact of COVID-19 grows, the effect on marketing technology spend will be significant. The martech landscape has been built on billions of speculative investments from private equity. However, most of these products were barely profitable, if at all, before COVID-19. Most of them are now burning significant cash, and they were never capitalized with a pandemic in mind.

Soon, investors will be making hard choices. Many martech solutions will be sold at huge discounts, some will close. I believe the much-anticipated industry consolidation is around the corner. This is not the way we wanted martech consolidation to happen, but this is the painful reality. For those marketers who rely on these technologies while navigating an industry landscape that changes almost daily, here are four considerations to make when adapting to the oncoming martech consolidation:

  1. Hire “The” technology expert. Many martech companies have implantation consultants; the best ones are often held closely and deployed on the most complex projects. This could be your opportunity to hire them. If new hires are not in the budget, perhaps a contracting agreement might work. In either case, if you have invested in the technology, why not invest a bit more for the right talent who will help you get the most out of your investment?
  2. If you are using a niche technology, reach out to your account rep. Find out how they are doing and what their plans are. If you have a good relationship with your rep, they will hopefully share any changes afoot, availability of on-going product support, the possibility of a sale or even closure.
  3. If you need to invest in new technology, look for solution providers with a broad base of active clients. (Notice the word “Active”). In some cases, one or two large clients can support a solution provider just fine. However, if typical license fees are $60,000 per year and the solution provider has a staff of 20 people, a broad base of clients will be critical for survival. (It’s just math.)
  4. The exceptions to No. 3 are cases where the solution provider has recently been acquired by a larger concern, especially post COVID-19. In such cases, someone with deep pockets thought enough of the technology to buy and invest in its survival. Although deep pockets do not always translate into smart money, it is enough of a reason to consider the technology seriously.

Those of us who have been keeping track of the martech universe know that the growth was unsustainable (There were over seven thousand solutions in the market as of 2019). The hope was that the best products would survive and eventually lead to industry consolidation. It seems that COVID-19 will abruptly end the natural evolution of the industry, for the time being. Innovations and investments will return, but exactly when is anyone’s guess.

In the meantime, we need to be kind and helpful to those who will be affected. In doing so, we may benefit from their wisdom, which was often drowned out in the previously noisy clamor of martech.

WWTT? Yeti+ Launches for Earth Day, Offers Unique ‘Streaming’ Content

This past Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Despite dealing with a pandemic and quarantines, a number of brands put out campaigns to celebrate the environment, including Yeti’s launch of Yeti+.

This past Wednesday, April 22, was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Despite dealing with a pandemic and quarantines, a number of brands put out campaigns to celebrate the environment, but the Earth Day campaign that caught my eye the most was from Yeti.

The Austin-based brand, known for its outdoor lifestyle products, created Yeti+, along the same vein as Apple+ or Disney+. But unlike those streaming video subscriptions, Yeti+ is free (though available for only a limited time), and has some pretty great content to watch, especially during these super stressful times.

Yeti offers Yeti+ streaming service to celebrate Earth Day
Credit: Yeti

What sort of goodies can you watch? Some fun nature documentaries? Action-packed outdoor events? Nope. You can watch streams be streamed.

The site copy reads:

We’ll be back outside before we know it. Until then, kick back, grab a cold one, and wet your appetite for the wild with one of our streams.

Click on any of the options, the video goes full screen, and you’re treated to the calming serenity of simply watching a stream — literally a body of water (each one runs about 10 minutes). If you’ve ever been to a holiday party where someone puts on a festive Yule Log video, then you get the picture.

But where the holiday Yule Log videos are often more about kitschy ambiance, I think the video offerings of Yeti+ are not only clever, but honestly, good relevant content.

They’re soothing. They’re beautiful. They take us out of our homes and transport us to a place of calm. Maybe to a place we’ve never been before. And though many of us may still be able to go outside and exercise while maintaining our stay at home rules, not everyone lives someplace this beautiful, green, and lush. Or is even physically able to go outside at all, for whatever reason.

Yeti+’s website copy may be a little tongue-in-cheek, but I think their Earth Day campaign offers a much-needed escape from the harshness of this world. And in my opinion, every little bit helps. We talk about how important it is to offer value to our customers and prospects. Well, I think Yeti+ nailed it.

What do you think, marketers? Leave me a comment below!

How to Best Use Direct Mail Marketing During COVID-19

During a time of crisis like COVID-19 it can be hard to know how best to market to your customers. Direct mail is still a great way to reach them, but you will need to adjust your tactics somewhat in order to remain a trusted resource.

During a time of crisis, it can be hard to know how best to market your products or services to customers. If your customers are consumers and not businesses, direct mail is still a great way to reach them. Of course, with businesses having employees work from home, this certainly creates challenges for B2B marketers who use direct mail in their marketing mix. However, there are other channels that can be used instead. So for now, you many want to put B2B direct mail plans on pause  and wait for when those individuals are back in the office.

Also to note, a few people have expressed concerns about virus transmission from mail, but the WHO and CDC both say that no coronavirus transmission has occurred from a newspaper, magazine, letter, or package. Sending your mail pieces to customers and prospects is still considered safe. So what is the best way to use direct mail right now?

  • Images – Avoid images of people in groups, touching, or at events. Instead find other images that are compelling to convey your message.
  • Message – Avoid using terms that involve touch and closeness. Instead, keep your message about how your product or service will help the prospect out. Do not try to capitalize on the crisis. It is acceptable to mention any changes you have instituted, but do not have a COVID-19 sale. It’s just tacky phrasing. And of course, do not dramatize the crisis for your benefit.
  • Empathy – Be sure to show sincere empathy for what your customers are going through. Times are tough and you don’t want to come across as insensitive. Consider creating direct mail that conveys optimism, hope, and humanity.
  • Plan – When setting up your mail piece, consider how it can actually help people. If you have a product or service that already will help prospects during the pandemic, highlight that – without capitalizing on COVID-19. If not, then find a way for the mail piece to educate, entertain, or inspire prospects into action.

Another way you can help customers and prospects at this time – and generate some good PR – is to find ways to help your community, as well as encouraging mail recipients to do the same in their communities. Or consider teaming up with a relevant local nonprofit, and make a pledge to donate a portion of your sales revenue. Creating a mail campaign with a positive message and needed products, services, or information will be well received and responded to.

It also is important to consider your list. There may be people on your list who are better targets to reach out to than others right now. Segment them out and send only to them. This is not the time for a one-size-fits-all campaign. Sensitivity and relevancy really matter right now. The best direct mail is sending the right offer to the right person at the right time.

In a crisis, your customers want you to be reliable and credible. Provide them with needed products, services, or information so that your mail is relevant and appreciated. Be a friendly, trusted resource to help them through the crisis. Keep in mind that how you communicate contributes to how your brand will be remembered. This will position you now and in the future as a company that your customers and prospects want to do business with. Are you ready to get started?

WWTT? Draper James’ Free Dress for Teachers Giveaway Debacle

Sometimes well-intentioned plans can land a brand in hot water with customers and prospects, especially when there is a fail regarding the plan’s execution. Such is the case of Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James fashion line and the debacle it’s facing with the free dress for teachers giveaway launched earlier in April.

As I began to work on this week’s “What Were They Thinking?” post, I dug through my inbox, looking for a campaign that celebrated solidarity, creativity, or just something worth talking about this week in the world of marketing. Then I saw an email from Target Marketing friend and blogger, Chuck McLeester, and down the rabbit hole I fell as I read The New York Time’s article, “Reese Witherspoon’s Fashion Line Offered Free Dresses to Teachers. They Didn’t Mean Every Teacher.” with my morning coffee. The debacle involving a free dress for teachers giveaway brought this to mind:

The best-laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew

Who knew that on Day 36 of quarantine/isolation/social distancing/THIS (gestures wildly), I’d be quoting a Robert Burn’s poem in a “What Were They Thinking?” post, but here we are. So let’s look at the issue of not thinking through your well-intentioned plans enough, and the kind of havoc that can cause your brand, your marketing team, and your reputation in the long run.

On April 2, Reese Witherspoon’s fashion line, Draper James, shared the free dress giveaway via the following Instagram post:

Draper James Free Dress Instagram Post

Now, as my Mom has always said “It’s the thought that counts …” and while it certainly is a nice thought to offer a free dress, there are NO expectations for giveaway applicants set in the post. The post reads:

Dear Teachers: We want to say thank you. During quarantine, we see you working harder than ever to educate our children. To show our gratitude, Draper James would like to give teachers a free dress. To apply, complete the form at the link in the bio before this Sunday, April 5th, 11:59 PM ET (Offer valid while supplies last – winners with be notified April 7th)

Yes, the post states “while supplies last.” But c’mon. If there are a set amount of dresses, SAY IT. Especially when the line before reads: “To show our gratitude, Draper James would like to give teachers a free dress.”

What did most of these people see? “To show our gratitude, Draper James would like to give teachers a free dress.” Their expectations soared, and while most people would realize that there probably weren’t enough for all applicants, there also wasn’t a single expectation set. A lot of teachers — who have been working their butts off, are most likely exhausted, burnt out, and worried about their own host of concerns — got their hopes up.

What would I have done, had I written the copy? Made it really clear. Maybe something like: “To show our gratitude, Draper James is offering 250 free dresses to teachers who apply to this giveaway as a thank you. If you are not selected as a free dress recipient, we will be providing discount codes, should you want to purchase a dress from Draper James.”

Because without setting clear expectations, you have these sorts of conversations and complaints cropping up:

That’s right … when teachers signed up for the giveaway, they had to include their email address (that’s standard for most giveaways, so no issue there) … however, my question is will Draper James be using them to market to these teachers now? In most cases of giveaways, this is not a big deal because it’s in the fine print (and I’m sure it was included here, too). But the way this was executed has really turned off a lot of individuals.

In an attempt to address this and apologize, Draper James did reach out to those who applied for the giveaway and added the following messages to its Instagram story (now a highlight called DJ <3 Teachers):

Draper James Free Dress Instagram Story Part 1Draper James Free Dress Instagram Story Part 2Draper James Free Dress Instagram Story Part 3It’s something, but honestly, it feels a bit too late. There are a lot of disappointed teachers right now, and the partnership and offering of funds to the nonprofit might not be enough to completely remove this scuff from Draper James’ brand reputation.

Look, it’s hard right now, and there are so many people at brands who want to do good things for others; that is a great mindset and spirit to have. Fashion designers have shifted over to creating masks for healthcare workers; meals are being donated; there is a lot of good being done. And I think the decision makers at Draper James had very good intentions. Quoted in the New York Times article I mentioned above, Draper James SVP for Brand Marketing and Creative Marissa Cooley said:

“We felt like we moved too quickly and didn’t anticipate the volume of the response. We were really overwhelmed. It was way more volume than the company had ever seen. We expected the single-digit thousands.”

Even when you want to help, you still need to stop, think through the plan, and figure out the best way to execute it in a sustainable way.

As Chuck said to me in our email exchange about the story:

“My take on it was purely from a metrics standpoint. 3 million teachers, 77% female, 2.3 million prospects, a free offer of a valuable item — even at a paltry 1% response rate that’s 23,000 responses or 100x the number of dresses that they had to give away.”

This could have been avoided, and I bet if applicants had known there was a limited amount, it would have been received in a much better fashion. But what do you think marketers? Drop me a line in the comments below.

The Art of the Virtual Pitch, Part 1: Perfecting Pre-Pitch Engagement

Pitches aren’t always won in the room. That’s great news right now because it might be a while before we’re even in a room together again. Pitches are won by what you do before, during, and after the pitch. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my best insights on the art of the virtual pitch.

Pitches aren’t always won in the room. That’s great news right now because it might be a while before we’re even in a room together again. The flip side is that every other element of winning business has become a little more challenging. Pitches are won by what you do before, during, and after the pitch. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my best insights on the art of the virtual pitch.

First, let’s talk about wowing potential clients before the pitch even happens. Without the benefit of face-to-face meetings, you’ll need new ways to engage with the client and show that you’re hungry for business.

It’s Business, and It’s Personal

Now is the time to get super creative about showing off your personality. Clients aren’t just buying capability; they’re also looking for chemistry. You’ve already put some thought into the team pitching this client, so dig into your thought process there. What are the skills each person has? What makes them indispensable to your team? When clients feel like they already know you before your pitch meeting, your proposal will go that much smoother.

A technique I love (and that you can tweak and reuse often!) is compiling something engaging to show off your team. Think of it like a totally juiced up business card. You could frame it as a yearbook, a set of baseball cards, the cast of a TV show — anything you think will get a second look. Including names, photos, and specialties is a given, but this should be fun, too. Consider including information like favorite quarantine activity, preferred pitching soundtrack, or last book read. Or lean into the yearbook concept and give everyone a superlative. Emphasizing personality is going to be crucial in the era of virtual pitches.

Make a Grand Gesture

When I was assisting Paypal’s push to expand into working with small businesses, we set up interviews with small businesses and profiled how PayPal could help. One of those small businesses was a great little chocolate maker, so we had them design special PayPal logo chocolates that we delivered on Valentine’s Day.

I also fondly remember a campaign we orchestrated for Discover. We wanted to upend the old notion that Discover cards aren’t widely accepted. It was at the height of the Cronut craze in NYC. So, a box of the city’s most sought after treats with a receipt showing we paid with a Discover credit card said it all.

Okay, so both of those involved snacks, and we know food can be a positive motivator and fan favorite to receive. But right now, something that supports your clients’ community could be a great move as everyone is looking to support one another through a public health crisis.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Be Afraid to Be Different

The virtual pitch isn’t new, but conducting remote business on this level is uncharted territory for many, so feel free to break out of your usual approach. Ultimately, this all comes down to romancing potential clients, so if you missed my post about “dating” clients, check it out now.

Remember, clients are not just buying capabilities from you, they’re also buying chemistry with you. Help them get a sense of who your team is and why they’d be awesome to collaborate with.

I’ll be back soon with tips on collaborating on a winning deck … remotely.

USPS’s Mobile Shopping Promotion Still Available for 2020

The USPS has confirmed that despite the current pandemic, all discount programs are still in place, including the 2020 Mobile Shopping Promotion. This program encourages mailers to integrate mobile technology with direct mail to create a convenient way for consumers to online shop, as well as earn a postage discount.

The USPS has confirmed that despite the current pandemic, all discount programs are still in place, including the 2020 Mobile Shopping Promotion. This program encourages mailers to integrate mobile technology with direct mail to create a convenient way for consumers to do their online shopping; provides a 2% postage discount for standard and nonprofit letters and flats; and runs from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020.

The registration period runs from June 15 through Dec. 31, 2020, giving marketers some time to consider the program and how they can benefit from the popularity of mobile shopping to boost response rates. So how can you take advantage of this discount? Qualifying mobile print technologies include one of the following:

  • Open-sourced barcodes: QR Code or Data Matrix code. “QR” stands for “Quick Response”, which refers to the instant access to the information hidden in the barcode. A Data Matrix barcode code can store up to 2,335 alphanumeric characters.
  • Proprietary barcode or tag: SnapTags or MS Tags. SnapTag technology is very similar to QR code technology, but, consumers with any camera or smart phone can take a picture of the tag. From there, information is sent via text or email. Microsoft Tag allows data to be stored in a graphical bitmap using shapes and colors. The difference is not using square pixels, but triangle shapes and colors to store data.
  • Image embedded with a digital watermark: A digital watermark is a kind of marker covertly embedded in a noise-tolerant signal such as audio, video or image data.
  • Intelligent print image recognition such as augmented reality: Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, and more.
  • Shoppabble Video: Today’s technology enables you to set interactive touch points in any video (or image), allowing your audience to expand on any product with more details and the ability to purchase.

You can use one on these options on your mail piece to send prospects and customers to a page where they can purchase the product or service you’re marketing on your mail piece. This particular promotion has been around for a while now and is very popular with both marketers and customers, especially because it extends through the whole holiday season.

New for this year is the Shoppable Video option. The experience involves viewing a video on a mobile device which contains clickable spots on the video where customers can make a purchase.

The easier you make it for your customers to buy, the more and faster they do so. Because of promotions like this from the USPS, marketers can capture impulse buys with direct mail. The Mobile Shopping Promotion also shows how the buying experience does not have to be boring. You can add elements to spice up your landing page and still be able to make transactions like the promotion rules call for. Think of all the fun and creative ways you can integrate mobile technology, while benefiting from a savings of 2% on your postage! It is a good time to try something new.

This is not the only promotion the USPS is offering this year. If interested, check out my previous coverage of two other promotion programs that are currently running, but with registration still open:

Are you ready to get started?

 

WWTT? Ad Council and Partners Remind You to #StayHome and Save Lives

It’s another week spent working from home, practicing social distancing, and doing what we can to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic. And to help spread the word, the Ad Council has teamed up with a bevy of partners to show people why they need to #StayHome in order to save lives.

It’s another week spent working from home for many of us here in the States, practicing social distancing, and doing what we can to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic, as directed by guidelines from the CDC and WHO. During an interview with TODAY’s co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Anthony Fauci weighed in:

“The real data are telling us that it is highly likely that we’re having a definite positive effect by this mitigation, things that we’re doing — this physical separation … But having said that, we better be careful that we don’t say, ‘OK, we’re doing so well we can pull back.’ We still have to put our foot on the accelerator when it comes to the mitigation and the physical separation.”

Dr. Fauci’s message is important, and comes one day after the announcement of a major initiative from the Ad Council. Known for its long history of creating public service communications in times of national crisis, the Ad Council in partnership with Google, ANA, and other leading advertising, media, and marketing associations came together to bring forth the “#StayHome. Save Lives.” movement.

#StayHome builds on the #AloneTogether PSA platform previously created by ViacomCBS, and both efforts support the importance of social distancing during the pandemic.

Google created “roof” iconography that can be added to brands’ logos, and there are myriad creative assets available in broadcast and digital video, social media, radio, print, and out of home (OOH) formats. All assets drive audiences to www.coronavirus.gov, a centralized resource from Health and Human Services (HHS) and the CDC that provides up-to-date information about COVID-19.The creative toolkit is full of #AloneTogether assets, which the #StayHome movement further amplifies. There are multiple asset options per channel, and honestly makes it beyond simple to jump in, spread the word, and do your part. I was really impressed by the variety of assets, as well as the additional social copy, overview documents, and more. Seriously. It’s so easy.

#StayHome #AloneTogether print marketing to combat COVID-19
Courtesy of The Ad Council

Of course, there are also some Dos and Don’ts that marketers need to commit to if they’re going to take part. From the #StayHome overview document:

DO integrate the “#StayHome. Save Lives.” message and iconography across your communication touchpoints, beginning Wednesday April 8.

DO share and support the existing #AloneTogether PSA assets in conjunction with the #StayHome hashtag and message.

DON’T use the #StayHome messaging and materials in conjunction with any commercial marketing messages, or you risk appearing opportunistic.

DON’T just post once on April 8 and stop. We hope you’ll join us in amplifying the #StayHome message that day, then continue to reinforce this important messaging in the weeks ahead.

The following is just a smattering of the 30-plus brands, agencies, and media companies made commitments to begin using the #StayHome creative assets on April 8:

  • Ally Financial
  • AMC Networks
  • Google/YouTube
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • IBM
  • OKCupid
  • Oreo
  • Postmates
  • Reddit
  • Roku
  • Twitter
  • ViacomCBS

The following trade association partners and groups also have encouraged all their members to join the #StayHome movement:

  • American Advertising Federation (AAF)
  • Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM)
  • American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As)
  • Association of National Advertisers (ANA)
  • Digital Content Next
  • International Advertising Association (IAA)
  • Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
  • Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)
  • News Media Alliance
  • Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA)
  • PTTOW!
  • Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB)
  • Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB)
  • Video Advertising Bureau (VAB)

Commenting upon the effort, ANA CEO Bob Liodice stated:

“There is no more important message that we can deliver but to #StayHome. Save Lives. I urge all ANA members to join this effort and drive home this point to their staffs, to their consumers, to customers and, especially, to Millennials. Everyone needs to do their part to fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. We’re holding hands with the Ad Council, Google and all of our sister trade associations to make a difference in our nation’s fight against this pandemic.”

Millennials have been called upon multiple times to focus on social distancing … but as many tired Millennials have pointed out in knee jerk-fashion, we’re a bit too old for Spring Break, and most of us haven’t been in the partying mood (then the finger points to Gen Z). But, as Dr. Deborah Birx explained, the Millennial generation (born 1981-1996) is good at sharing information widely, and that’s why we’re the generation to lead the cause.

Either way, this is a global pandemic that goes beyond the generational divide when it comes to sharing important info, in my opinion. We are all in this, and we all need to do our part, and I think this effort by the Ad Council and their partners is a good step forward, pairing the #StayHome movement with #AloneTogether.

Because we can do this. We have to do this. And we can do it together … while staying apart.