The Trump Administration announced on Wednesday that it is working with Disney, NBC Universal, ViacomCBS and iHeartMedia on a public service announcement campaign to communicate information on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The campaign, which will be overseen by the Ad Council, will see all participating companies contribute ad space and airtime to PSAs informing people about what they can do to prevent the spread of the virus and direct them to websites where they can receive more information. Social distancing, hygiene and mental health will be among the topics of these announcements. Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the top immunologists at the National Institutes of Health and one of the main public faces discussing the crisis, will appear in the PSAs along with Surgeon General Jerome Adams and First Lady Melania Trump. There is no information yet on whether President Trump himself will appear in the campaign.
In addition, the White House listed specific plans each participating media company plans to carry out:
– NBCUniversal will produce a series of announcements in English and Spanish providing information about social distancing and what high-risk populations can do to protect themselves.
– ABC/Walt Disney Television will promote “priority messaging” for parents and families for distribution across their channels and platforms.
– iHeartRadio will contribute ad time for PSAs on social distancing across its network of radio stations
– ViacomCBS has already begun its PSA campaign in partnership with the Ad Council, as ads for the #AloneTogether campaign encouraging social distancing and “unity through entertainment” have begun appearing on MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, CMT, and VH1. The campaign will also be supported on other networks owned by ViacomCBS, including the streaming service CBS All Access.
The new campaign is part of a series of responses from the Trump Administration to the coronavirus crisis after weeks of downplaying the virus’ danger to the American public and economy. Trump repeatedly made comments to the press in January and February insisting that the virus threat in the U.S. was under control before declaring a national emergency last week.
“”So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on,” Trump said on March 9 hours before Santa Clara County announced a ban on all public gatherings of over 250 people. The NBA suspended its season two days later and was followed by all major sports leagues doing the same.