Together Against Coronavirus

Organisers: Federal Government of Germany

What it is:

Three adverts produced by the German government attempted to inject a light-hearted sense of humour into a serious situation. The ads, in the style of historical documentary video clips, imagine elderly veterans of the coronavirus “war” looking back and reminiscing about their bravery, determination and self-sacrifice in doing… nothing. “Flashbacks” showing their younger selves in the year 2020 depict exaggerated – albeit sadly relatable – scenarios of boredom and fatigue.

Photos: Federal Government of Germany

Why we like it:

It might seem strange to promote the “heroism” of doing nothing by highlighting the demographic group which arguably feels the effects of inactivity most keenly: young people under the age of 30. But the campaign’s mocking depiction of young peoples’ present-day boredom and frustration, coupled with their imagined future ability to look back on the virus crisis with a smile and a laugh, demonstrates awareness that this form of heroism, while vital, is only temporary. The ironic sense of humour meanwhile invites frustrated young people in on the joke, in so doing forging a connection between the government and the public. It’s a great way of creating a sense of collective identity and shared responsibility.

PR Guru comment:

“It is good to see that governments can use humour and demonstrate lightness of touch to reach their target audience – in this case young adults. Whereas to the older demographic the Coronavirus represents a very real threat to their health and to their lives – to young people it simply represents a threat to their lifestyle. By introducing today’s young people to their older selves, the German government has succeeded in making the current crisis relevant and relatable – a real PR coup.”

– Lionel Zetter

Lionel Zetter is a former president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and former Chairman of PRCA Public Affairs. He has run his own agency, and worked in-house and as a freelancer. He has won ‘Lifetime Achievement’ and ‘Outstanding Contribution’ awards from the CIPR, PRCA and Public Affairs News. He is the Founder Patron of Conservatives in Communications, Vice President of PublicAffairsAsia and a Director of the Enterprise Forum.