A few of the ways OOH has stepped up to fight COVID-19

April 3, 2020Rob Côté

It’s now been a couple of months since social distancing began and the OOH industry is continuing to surprise us with its creativity and resilience. Although some regions have begun to loosen restrictions and we have seen some uptake in outdoor activities, we aren’t out of the woods yet.

Settling in for the long haul and preparing for a “new” normal, whatever that might be, is stressful and full of uncertainty. That’s why keeping a positive outlook is more important than ever. We want to continue highlighting the great work that out-of-home companies around the world have been putting out to help meet this need. 

Our thanks to the companies behind the following examples, and to all the others trying to help us all through this trying time.

Thanks to our heroes – Clear Channel, Intersection, PATTISON Outdoor, Outsmart, and more

The world might feel like it has ground to a halt, but essential services like groceries, transportation, shipping, and others that are key to our survival and relative comfort have kept going. Little wonder that many of us have a new appreciation for the people who work to provide these things, which many people took for granted previously.

In that spirit, Clear Channel Outdoor, Intersection, PATTISON Outdoor, Outsmart, and other OOH businesses and associations have put together campaigns that thank key workers for keeping things going while everyone else withdraws and attempts to wait things out. Hopefully it and other campaigns like it help these workers understand just how much we appreciate what they are doing for us.

Shows the CCO campaign in support of essential workers during the pandemic
ClearChannel Outdoor’s message of support to essential workers
ClearChannel UK’s ad in support of the NHS
Intersection’s message of thanks to everyone keeping society going
PATTISON Outdoor’s thanks to everyone working on the frontlines
A thank-you campaign from UK OOH organization Outsmart

#NationalDoctorDay OUTFRONT Media, Branded Cities, others

Social isolation isn’t an option for the doctors and nurses working to diagnose and treat those of us who come down with COVID-19. Naturally, that’s led to the regular feelings of gratitude felt by many of us toward our healthcare workers taking on a new dimension during this crisis.

To show a little appreciation for everything our medical pros do and have done for us, OUTFRONT Media, Branded Cities, and other OOH networks put up a number of ads across their network, and then shared them online for the rest of us to see. We love them.

Branded Cities’ National Doctor Day message to healthcare workers

#StayConnected – JCDecaux Australia, R U OK?

Social and physical distancing might be keys to beating COVID-19, but they’ve also proven to be big asks of many of us. Being forced to abandon routines and stay away from friends and family are taking an added toll on the mental and physical health of many vulnerable people around the world.

To help address this, JCDecaux Australia and R U OK?, an Australian suicide prevention organization, teamed up to remind communities to stay connected and help each other through this trying time. Reaching out to offer help, or even just a friendly ear, is a small action we can each take, and could make a big difference in the life of someone who needs help.

#StayConnected, by JCDecaux Australia and R U OK?

Stay Safe, Be Kind – Edmonton Oilers, PATTISON Outdoor

Understandably, there’s a lot of tension and frustration floating around these days. Being stuck with the same people all the time can wear on you. Even worse, when tempers flare, there’s not really anywhere to go.

That’s why we really appreciate the reminder from the Edmonton Oilers (via PATTISON Outdoor), to stay safe and be kind throughout this whole ordeal. We’ll do a lot better if we take care of each other.

The Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign from the Edmonton Oilers

We are the Countervirus – DPAA

“Flatten the curve” has become both a rallying cry and a critical mission for countries around the world hoping to avoid overloading their healthcare systems. For most of us, it means staying home, or at least away from others, as much as possible.

To help spread that message, as well as to explain some of the “why” behind ongoing social and physical distancing, DPAA and the Madwell creative advertising agency put together a great-looking campaign called “We Are the Countervirus.” It’s freely available for OOH businesses to download and display, and is a great initiative that we were delighted to see.

Stay Home – a message from the DPAA’s “We Are the Countervirus” campaign

PSAs, Alone Together, United we Stand Apart, American Humane – OAAA

In this same vein of providing guidance to businesses that need it, the OAAA has revamped its whole home page to provide a bunch of resources that OOH businesses can benefit from. News, insights, industry guidelines, and more are all available at the OAAA website.

The OAAA is also backing four campaigns geared towards helping spread useful information and messages of encouragement.

The first, in partnership with the CDC, advises audiences to wash their hands, avoid touching their faces, to stay home when sick, and to follow other important health directives. Files available here

An example from the DPAA and CDC’s COVID-19 campaign

The second, “#AloneTogether,” which was put together by the Ad Council, the CDC, and The White House, reminds audiences to stay home as much as possible in order to slow the spread of the disease. Files available here

The #AloneTogether campaign being promoted by the OAAA

The third, “United we Stand Apart” is a clever campaign aimed at reminding people to stand far enough away from each other to greatly reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading from person to person. Files available here

The United We Stand Apart campaign promoted by the OAAA

The fourth is in collaboration with the American Humane Society, and is dedicated to raising support for animals that might be suffering in the midst of the economic and societal turmoil we now find ourselves in. Files available here

The American Human Society campaign supported by the OAAA

They’re all important messages that OOH businesses are free to distribute across their own networks, should they wish to do so. Files available here

#WarOnCOVID19 – Engine UK

We’re all in the fight against COVID-19 together, but it seems that getting the message across to some people is proving harder than it should be. We all need to respect the recommendations from our health authorities to win the battle.

That’s why we loved this clever and relevant adaptation of vintage wartime posters. The clever creatives from Engine UK include basic guidelines for handwashing and distancing, but then take it a step further by reinforcing the social faux pas that are still sometimes being ignored.

These designs were free to use for anyone wanting to donate some screen time for an inventive take on COVID-19 PSAs. Unfortunately, they’re no longer available.

#MyHeroe(s) – Kinetic & DOOH.com 

This campaign from DOOH.com and Kinetic shines a light on individual essential workers. Their stories and pictures come straight from the public, who participate in the campaign by sharing personal experiences with essential workers and including the #MyHeroes hashtag.

This initiative helps keep morale up for essential frontline workers who are putting themselves at risk everyday. This collaborative OOH effort with Boomerang Media, Clear Channel UK, DOOH.com, Hi! Street Digital Media &, Kinetic UK, Ocean Outdoor and Open Media.is a touching way for the UK to say thanks all across the country. 

Get the full story here.

#Thankyou – Outfront Media Canada

These widespread messages across Canada offer thanks to all that have been doing what they can to help flatten the curve and keep things running. This includes, of course, healthcare workers who are tirelessly fighting to save lives, but also celebrates essential workers and other Canadians joining the fight. 

From delivery drivers, to grocery store workers, to healthcare workers, to just regular  people helping people; this campaign makes sure our country’s efforts don’t go unnoticed.

You can check out this great initiative here or at the Outfront Media Canada website.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from billboard vinyl – Lamar Advertising & Louisiana State University 

We’ve seen some extraordinary creativity emerge from this pandemic, and what Lamar Advertising has done with LSU is a prime example of this. 

The company is donating used billboard vinyl to Louisiana State University, which is able to use the material to create personal protective equipment (PPE), which is in short supply across the globe.

Wayne Newhauser, Director of LSU’s Medical Physics Program, came up with this brilliant idea and made the first batch in his garage. Now, with over 40 people working on the project, this innovative collaboration is churning out heavy-duty reusable gowns at a rate of 1,000 per day! 

Take a look at this amazing initiative here.

Total recovered – Orb Screen

From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, it seems like we’ve been seeing new discouraging statistics everyday. Although these numbers are vital in understanding how the pandemic is progressing, they are a source of anxiety and sadness for many. 

That’s why Orb Screen took it upon themselves to showcase a more positive set of numbers. Pulling data from the WHO, Johns Hopkins, and other reputable sources, they have created a dynamic figure of the total number of people who have recovered from the virus. 

They hope this climbing number will be a source of hope and encouragement as efforts to fight the virus continue globally.

The HTML file for this campaign is freely available to anyone looking to share some good news across their DOOH network.

Get it here.

#SendingLove – Grand Visual, Talon outdoor, Plexus OOH & WOO

We all have family & friends we wish we could visit right now, but who knows when things will get back to normal. Texting, calling or video chats can help, but it’s just not the same as seeing someone in person. 

Grand Visual, Talon Outdoor, Plexus OOH and the World Out of Home Organization have teamed up to connect people around the world in a big way. The campaign is simple: take a picture of yourself making a heart shape with your hands, upload it, and select where you’d like to send the message, with choices of over 150 cities across 40 countries. Then, you can see your message of love take center stage on DOOH screens across the globe. It’s an impressive and memorable way to let your loved ones know you miss them! 

This campaign is accessible to anyone, from anywhere in the world – start spreading the love here <3

Rob Côté
Rob Côté

Demand Generation Manager