It’s not often that you’re asked to help stop a pandemic through advertising, but that was the rare task given to us by the county of San Mateo, California. San Mateo County has faced adversity before, such as earthquakes, and has persevered to recover and rebuild. The COVID-19 pandemic posed a new challenge by shutting down society and putting residents’ health and livelihoods at risk. As people were becoming increasingly restless from the Phase 1 stay home orders, we needed to solve the difficult brief of bringing residents together, while also enforcing three core preventive measures:
1. Wash your hands
2. Wear a face covering
3. Practice social distancing
In concepting the big idea and overarching campaign line, we knew we needed something that would instill the personal responsibility aspect, making each and every resident understand that they play a role, while simultaneously providing the positive incentive of the county parks, beaches, and local businesses reopening successfully. San Mateo County residents are eager to get back to visiting friends, going to restaurants, and enjoying everyday life safely. The county wanted to tell them that we can do it—but it will take time and unity. We can come back together again.
Our comeback depends on all of us.
From San Mateo County residents in East Palo Alto to those in Half Moon Bay, we all play a vital part in our comeback and in stopping the spread of coronavirus. Our campaign evokes a spirit of unity in controlling the pandemic together, and it was translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Tagolog to ensure the diverse communities within the county got the important health message. We are also rolling it out across a wide mix of media, including print publications, out-of-home ads, bus shelters and wraps, paid social ads, television, and window clings, clung to the storefronts of small businesses and public buildings to remind patrons how to stay safe.
The colorful overlapping hearts balance out the motivating campaign line to bring much-needed warmth and unity to a divided climate. No matter your political views, this novel virus does not discriminate, and one person’s actions breaking health guidelines could be detrimental to an entire community. Our campaign underscores how coming back and recovering from the impact of COVID-19 will truly take everyone: government officials, essential workers, multigenerational households, and frontline healthcare heroes alike. We’ve already spotted campaign billboards up around the county, and there’s more to come through various channels to reinforce our message and remind residents that it’s up to all of us to protect each other and make a comeback.