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Viola Davis, Simone Biles, Questlove among celebrities starring in “You Will See Me” PSA campaign to encourage Black Americans to wear face masks to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus

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National Campaign from the Ad Council, CDC, and 3AM encourages all Americans to see the person behind the face mask

New York, NY, August 19, 2020 – 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. [1]

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. [2] 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%). [3]

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. REVOLT TV is donating PSA airtime and content integration. 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.”

To learn more, visit YouWillSeeMe.org, view the PSAs on YouTube, or share the PSAs on social media using #YouWillSeeMe.

[1] Data is through May 28 and includes only cases for which the race/ethnicity and home county of the infected person was known. Only groups that make up at least 1 percent of a county’s population are considered in determining the highlight color on the map. Sparsely populated areas in counties are not highlighted. The C.D.C. data included race/ethnicity information, but no county location, for infected people in eight additional states: Hawaii, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Texas and Vermont. “The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus.” NYTimes. July 5, 2020.

[2] CDC Face Coverings Study. July 2020. 3 Axios-Ipsos survey

The Ad Council
The Ad Council has a long history of creating life-saving public service communications in times of national crisis, starting in the organization’s earliest days during World War II to September 11th and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. Its deep relationships with media outlets, the creative community, issue experts and government leaders make the organization uniquely poised to quickly distribute life-saving information to millions of Americans.

The Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. The non-profit organization brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to address many of the nation’s most important causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history. Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Smokey Bear. Love Has No Labels.

The Ad Council’s innovative social good campaigns raise awareness, inspire action and save lives. To learn more, visit AdCouncil.org, follow the Ad Council’s communities on Facebook and Twitter, and view the creative on YouTube.

3AM | Wild Card Creative Group
3AM is a leading content innovation group. A division of the independent entertainment marketing agency Wild Card, 3AM focuses on the process of “worldbuilding,” creating worlds across platforms that turn passive audiences into engaged fans. 3AM has immersed audiences and consumers with riveting content and experiences in the film, gaming and brand space on projects such as: adidas x Tyler “Ninja” Blevins “Time In” campaign, Microsoft Game Stack, Ad Astra, Bohemian Rhapsody and The Greatest Showman. In 2018, 3AM was singled out as one of the most innovative companies of the year by Fast Company, which praised the group for “creating content that plays less like marketing and more like an extension of the film being promoted.” 3AM first gained recognition with its inaugural project, the award-winning integrated marketing campaign for Ridley Scott’s critically acclaimed 2015 hit, The Martian, with Twentieth Century Fox. 3AM is named after the early morning hour, a place of solitude and a sanctuary for creativity, where ideas can be honed in silence — far away from the distractions of modern life.


Ad Council Media Contacts

AD COUNCIL MEDIA CONTACTS:
Ellyn Fisher: efisher@adcouncil.org
Ben Dorf: bdorf@adcouncil.org