The Ad Council, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), launched a series of public service announcements (PSAs) emphasizing the importance of mask wearing until you’re vaccinated. The campaign, supported by a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation, is an extension of the national “Mask Up America” campaign, which throughout the pandemic has aimed to increase compliance and acceptance of wearing masks and face coverings as one of the main prevention behaviors in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, and including vaccination, social distancing, and hand washing.
In early May, the CDC eased a number of mask guidelines, stating that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a face mask or stay six feet apart from others in most settings. While America is currently in a sprint to get 70% of U.S. adults at least one shot by July 4th, roughly 50% of the US population still has not received at least one dose.
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Developed by creative agencies Colle McVoy and SKDK, the PSAs use a combination of humor, sports and social gatherings to encourage Americans to continue wearing masks until they’ve been fully vaccinated.
“At such a critica point in the COVID-19 pandemic and as many people are unsure about whether or not to continue masking up, these PSAs are a needed reminder for those who have not yet gotten vaccinated to keep wearing a mask until they do,” says Ad Council President and CEO Lisa Sherman. “We’re grateful to our partners at Colle McVoy and SKDK for creating such important and entertaining films that will inspire and protect people across the country.”
The 30-second spots, called “Book Club,” “Concert” and “Swim” emphasize the importance of wearing a mask in certain situations as the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from getting and spreading the virus. The “Mask Up America” PSAs use milestone events, such as the upcoming Olympic Games, live concerts and indoor gatherings with friends to show how we can all get back to the things we love if we do our part and continue to mask up in order to stay safe and vigilant in certain situations. Rowdy Gaines, Olympic gold medalist and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, voiced the “Swim” PSA and will serve as an announcer at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“We are proud to partner with the Ad Council. Their leadership over the past year in bringing the public important messages about COVID has been essential to the pandemic recovery we are now experiencing,” said Hilary Rosen, Vice Chair, SKDK, creator of the “Swim” spot. “But, until we’re all vaccinated, let’s still mask up and not mess around.”
“As we start to see the pandemic wane, people are tired of hearing emotional pleas to mask up, so we creatively flipped the script and gave people permission to be selfish, but the best kind of selfish,” said Christine Fruechte, CEO, Colle McVoy, creator of the “Book Club” and “Concert” spots directed by Hannah Levy of SNL fame. “The PSAs remind us that we all have the power to keep our world moving and get back to what we love more quickly.”
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In addition to the three PSAs, media platforms and influencers are using their channels to further amplify the “Mask Up America” message. SXM Media’s Studio Resonate has developed a series of audio PSAs and companion banner that will run in targeted donated media. WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, iconic rock band Foreigner, and actress Isabella Gomez (One Day at a Time) are creating content. Since its launch in July 2020, the “Mask Up America” campaign, with spots from WarnerMedia and PSAs created in partnership with Governor Cuomo’s office, has received more than one billion impressions across $17.8 million in donated, earned and shared media.
“Even as more people are vaccinated, the pandemic continues to evolve, so it’s still critical to know the best tools for protecting ourselves and our loved ones,” said Eileen O’Connor, Senior Vice President of The Rockefeller Foundation and member of the Ad Council’s Advisory Committee. “The Rockefeller Foundation remains committed to ensuring that Americans across the country are equipped with the latest information. The Ad Council’s newest PSAs play a crucial and creative role in this, showing us how to stay safe and wear masks until getting vaccinated.”