Local governments and businesses run ads promoting masks

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In May, New York launched a public competition for advertisements encouraging people to wear masks. There were over 600 entries. The winning ad features the iconic “I ❤ New York” slogan with an array of New Yorkers saying things like, “When we show up in disguise, we show up for each other.” Show your love for New York because New York loves you.

California and Oregon ran similar public service announcements. And the Austin, Texas Chamber of Commerce recently started sending this message: “A mask on each of us is a victory for all of us.”

Science says wearing a mask is the best defense against the spread of COVID-19 until a vaccine is ready. But in the absence of a federal mask policy, the problem has become so tangled up in politics that it has become difficult to get this message across. Now local governments and businesses are putting out their own ads to try to unravel the message.

Edward Russell, professor of advertising at Syracuse University, said public service campaigns can work. Just think of “Don’t drive drunk” or Smokey Bear stating “Only you can prevent forest fires”.

But the masks are not wildfires, which most agree are bad. The battle for the masks has become personal, so the message must also be personal.

“The message needs to be quick and straightforward,” Russell said. “There must be something in it for me. “

He said the facts can be compelling, such as showing how the virus is spread from person to person and how masks can help prevent this.

That’s the subject of Uber’s new TV commercial. The ad shows a series of masked people’s faces, with text underneath saying, “When you wear a mask, you protect Jin. Jin protects Chelsea. Chelsea protects Raphael. The last line: “No mask, no ride.”

“Brands certainly see an opportunity to strengthen this bond between themselves and their customers,” said Jim Nail, marketing analyst at Forrester.

They also want to strengthen their bond with their workers, who ultimately have to uphold the rules and take the heat from customers who don’t want to follow them.


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