It’s an unprecedented time for humanity and thus communications and advertising too. Jessica Perri appeals to creatives everywhere to pitch in with ideas.

Marketing in the COVID-19 crisis

This article is part of a special WARC Snapshot focused on enabling brand marketers to re-strategise amid the unprecedented disruption caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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On March 20, the UN’s World Health Organization sent out a ‘Global Call to Creatives’ to spread the word on six key messages with the purpose of ending COVID-19 and improving global conditions. The brief was thorough with links on everything from hand washing to kindness, but it lacked audience insight and a compelling proposition. That was the opinion of myself and two other strategists based separately in New York, London and Amsterdam.

Our project actually began with a different COVID-19 idea in mind. With everyone trying to make sense of the new reality there has been a huge influx of memes and social content in the cultural zeitgeist.

“We were already kicking around ideas of mapping meme sentiment against Jung’s archetype wheel to see what personalities were dominating conversation. When the WHO brief came up, we shifted our attention to that,” said Matt Carney who spearheaded the myth-busting brief from Amsterdam.

Matt and I next created a Facebook group, invited a few creatives to join and they spread the word to their friends – the group now has 80 members. Our strategic duo soon became a trio when I reached out to Flutura Bardhi in New York, another strategist interested in humanitarian issues, who told us about the UN message she selected: kindness contagion.

“I chose that brief because we are going through a collective global crisis. Emotional health affects physical health and we could all use a helping hand right now,” she said.

The three briefs we selected as a newly formed ad-hoc strategy team are an open call for creatives to use as individuals or teams. Talenthouse, which is managing submissions, had this to say about who can join WHO’s COVID-19-message movement: “The United Nations is looking for as much support as possible. The ultimate goal is to flood all media channels (both above and below the line) with inspiring, informative, arresting creative work that will communicate the steps the public need to take to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

A representative from the Talenthouse also admitted to me on a call that a ‘Global Call to Creatives’ has never been done before and thus everyone is making it up as they go along. Yet somehow, it’s working. Welcome to the new at-home-global ad agency where all are welcome to join, but, according to this strategy team, insights are essential.

Click here to download briefs with a link to details on how to submit and upload on the Talenthouse site. Deadline is April 14th 5pm GMT.

If you're working on the briefs and need access to WARC, drop us a line.