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  • Writer's picture@ Cynthia Adina Kirkwood

Sell Pizazz in COVID-19 World

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wears masks with panache. Most of her face coverings are from Donna Lewis (Photo by Elle)


Sell change of behavior, like Nike, on social media, Spotify, print and other media.

Lifestyle is the product, one which will help us stay healthy by avoiding the new coronavirus.

A New York Times/Siena College (July 7 to July 10) poll asked Americans who they trust for information on COVID-19. Medical scientists garnered the greatest adherents (84 percent) followed by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) (77 percent); Dr. Anthony Fauci (67 percent); National news media (30 percent), and U.S. President Donald Trump (26 percent).

Herein lies a void.

The 30-year-old man, who died of COVID-19 after attending a COVID party, probably was not listening to any of those surveyed sources.

“I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not,” he reportedly told his nurses at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, according to Forbes on July 12.

Dr. Jane Appleby, the Chief Medical Officer for Methodist Hospital, released a statement indicating that the man had been at a party also attended by a known infected guest. Many young people do not believe that the virus is serious for them, she said. They figure that they can get the virus without suffering any health consequences. Appleby issued the statement as a warning.

I am not suggesting an advertising campaign for already existing products. There have been many such commercials in the United States, which have been criticized for their banality and sameness. Numerous brands, including Apple, Budweiser and FedEx, Hyundai, Lincoln and Mazda have followed a similar template:

“Somber music, a reminder of how the brand has been with the consumer throughout its entire history and that in these “challenging”, “trying,” uncertain”, or “unprecedented” times, while “doors are closed” or “distance between us” has grown, we can still “stay connected” in the “safety of our home”. The brands promise to remain with you assuring viewers that we can all get through this “together” (together”, “together”, “together”), and finally the ads close with rousing music and scenes of people applauding from their windows and homes,” said AdAge on April 23.

Those ads dated back to an earlier time when lifestyle changes were expected to be short term, companies needed to act quickly, and money was tight. We are in a different time now. We are in it for the long haul.

“There will be no return to the old normal in the foreseeable future,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director-General, in a media briefing on July 13, “But there is a road map to a situation where we can control the virus and get on with our lives.

“The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this. The only aim of the virus is to find people to infect. Mixed messages from leaders are undermining the most critical ingredient of any response: trust.”

Perhaps, people would trust an ad campaign.

The commercials also would not resemble public service announcements, which often feature a talking doctor and nothing else. The CDC has many of these on its website. Today, I saw a WHO COVID-19 television spot, which used multi-colored stick figures and a male voiceover.

The COVID-19 commercials would have pizazz. They would showcase a lifestyle that everyone wants to have and no one wants to miss out on.

Just do it.

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