Get Creative, Avoid Lockdown

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By Fiona Florence, MD, JDO Brand Design & Innovation

On the 14 of September, the rule of six went into effect, along with a set of exceptions, a new punitive system as well as a host of other guidelines. Failure to follow these guidelines could lead to another two-week lockdown during October half term – not to mention more positive cases.

New rules, new confusion. That’s not just our opinion. Police forces have also expressed the need for simplification, requesting that the Government ‘play its part’ through a public information campaign.

Basic hygiene practices and social distancing are simple concepts – so why aren’t people falling in line? We believe it has something to do with the tone of COVID-19 policies. Ranging from legalese doublespeak to outright scaremongering, it’s become a broken record that people are tired of listening to.

You’ll also hear the blame of this backward step being put on young people who simply don’t care. This is a vast generalization, that also seemingly absolves our policymakers of their responsibility to effectively communicate.

If the problem really is that young people ‘don’t care’, then we need to work harder to make them care. A good example of this in practice is NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent pro-mask PSA featuring Paul Rudd. Representing a ‘certified young person,’ the popular American actor makes the message fun and funny, whilst still communicating the importance of the message. In just one day, the video achieved more than 310,000 views on YouTube plus nearly 5 million on Twitter, effectively reaching a younger audience on the platforms where they most consume content.

Different audiences demand different approaches, but all we are seeing are the same messages, delivered in the same way, to everyone – televised briefings, uninspired posters, “social distancing” buttons. It is no wonder that people, particularly young people, are not engaged. To be truly effective, we need more than posters and buttons. We need a movement.

Welcome to Normville

Normville is a virtual town where social distancing is not only normal, but a way to be creative. Instead of being alarmist and banal, it’s playful and optimistic, helping people adjust to the new norm in a way that is simple, not scary – and if possible, a bit of fun.

Created by the JDO team in the UK, the campaign aims to achieve real engagement by encouraging people to get creative with how they #respectthedistance and #distancewithstyle and then asking them to share their ingenuity on Instagram.

The strategy to reach and resonate with a digital-first audience is clear – speak to them on the right channels in a language they understand. Don’t just send the message, but drive action by igniting dialogue and building a community with a united purpose.

At JDO, we believe creativity is the key to changing the way people think, feel, what they believe and how they behave. If we can use it effectively, then maybe we can get a one-way ticket to Normville instead of another lockdown.

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