To support Black Americans who have been disproportionately impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ad Council, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC Foundation, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are launching a national campaign, “You Will See Me,” to inspire and empower Black Americans to wear face masks to help stop the spread of the virus. Created by 3AM, a division of Los Angeles based entertainment agency Wild Card Creative Group, this integrated platform features prominent Black celebrities sharing their stories to encourage everyone to see the real person behind their face mask.
Data shows Black Americans are affected by COVID-19 at higher rates due to systemic healthcare, economic, and social inequalities. Across the U.S., Black and Latino residents are three times as likely to be infected as their white neighbors, according to new CDC data which provides detailed characteristics of 640,000 infections detected in nearly 1,000 U.S. counties. Additionally, recent CDC data shows that Black and Latino people are nearly two times more likely to die from the virus as white people.
According to medical experts, wearing a face mask is among the most important actions an individual can take to help stop the spread of COVID-19. A study released by the CDC in mid-July found that wearing face masks has significantly decreased the propensity to spread the virus. The percentage of Black Americans who report wearing a mask at all times when leaving their homes is 16% higher than the percentage of all Americans wearing a face mask at all times (79% compared to 63%).
Martin Luther King III, along with his wife Arndrea Waters King and their daughter Yolanda Renee King, are serving as community campaign ambassadors and spokespeople. “You have the power to protect your health and the health of your family, friends and community. You will see me wearing a mask,” said Martin Luther King III. “We have a responsibility to each other. Wear a mask, it could save a life.”
“Longstanding systemic inequities continue to put Black Americans among those who are most severely affected by this virus,” said Leandris Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA, Associate Director of CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity. “At this critical time in the pandemic, it is important that more Black Americans wear a face mask to help stop the spread of this virus in communities.”
The PSAs will be available for broadcast and digital media. Celebrities inspiring others to wear face masks include Academy Award winning actress Viola Davis, World Champion Simone Biles, The Roots members Questlove and Black Thought, Sports TV personality Stephen A. Smith, TV personality Lala Anthony, gospel singer Kirk Franklin, hip hop artist Lecrae, actor Al Shearer, actor Marcus Scribner, actor Deon Cole, and former NY Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz.
“So many healthcare professionals and medical experts have been courageous in doing their part to help treat and manage the spread of the Coronavirus and I encourage all of us to follow their lead and do our part by wearing a mask,” said World Champion Simone Biles. “Together, we can help make a significant difference within our communities and inspire our families and loved ones to do the same.”
The integrated campaign will receive donated support from partners including VidMob, who is developing the digital banners for this effort. Google/YouTube is donating media inventory to support the COVID-19 PSAs. IPG’s Matterkind will be executing targeted media through a donated Private Marketplace with The Trade Desk across a suite of partners including ENGINE Media Exchange (EMX), Groundtruth, Triplelift, InMobi, Kargo, Ogury, OpenX, Bustle Digital Group, Maven INC., and Connatix. Extreme Reach, the leading technology company that delivers TV and video ads for major brands, donated their software and support to get the Coronavirus PSAs out rapidly.
“When the Ad Council asked us to partner with them and the CDC on a face mask campaign, we immediately understood the importance of this effort. Not just to stop the spread of the coronavirus within the Black community but to also encourage all Americans to see us as the people we are behind the mask,” said Tara DeVeaux, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer of Wild Card Creative Agency. “‘You Will See Me’ shows we are actors, athletes, comedians, musicians but also mothers, fathers, siblings and champions for our community. We hope both messages have an impact through this campaign. That wearing a mask and seeing the person behind the mask will save lives.”
This campaign is the latest in the Ad Council’s ongoing effort to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Since their first campaign was launched in mid-March, over 77% of all American adults are aware of the Ad Council’s COVID-19 efforts. To date, the Ad Council’s efforts have reached 23.6 billion impressions across $347 million in donated, earned and shared media. This has translated to 50 million consumer engagements and more than 26 million direct sessions to Coronavirus.gov.
Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council, said, “‘You Will See Me’ is a message of inspiration and motivation to keep up the fight against the Coronavirus. We know that face masks are the single most effective way we can protect others from the virus. This is a powerful and critical platform for the Black community and we’re so grateful to the team at Wild Card for creating it.”