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Ad Council, CDC Launch The Power of Us, a Campaign Designed to Educate and Empower the Black Community to Continue to Help Stop the Spread of Coronavirus

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Together with Complex Networks, the Ad Council, CDC launch shareable safety tips, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the country

New York, NY, December 9, 2020 – 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 called The Power of Us to support Black Americans, who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new campaign is designed to inspire Black Americans to continue to make a difference to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Created by Complex Collective, Complex Networks’ primary audience insight research engine, the integrated platform highlights how Black Americans have been impacted by COVID-19. Black men and women are 2.6X more likely to contract the virus; 4.7X more likely to be hospitalized; and 2.1X more likely to die from COVID-19. Additionally, Black men and women in America are dying from COVID-related symptoms at an alarming rate. The Black community lost over 45,000 lives since the pandemic was declared in mid-March. Black Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population, but account for nearly 22% of COVID-related deaths, meaning Black Americans are dying of COVID-19 at almost double the national rate.1

“Evidence shows African Americans are at greater risk of getting sick, becoming seriously ill, and dying from COVID-19,” said Leandris Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA, Director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity at CDC. “In response, CDC is committed to addressing the health disparities and inequities associated with the impact to these populations by partnering with trusted organizations to educate and empower everyone to make informed decisions on how they can protect themselves and their loved ones who face severe outcomes from COVID-19.”

The Power of Us focuses on creating personal COVID messages tailored to the Black community. The campaign encourages the social sharing of COVID-19 stats and facts that will motivate family and friends to continue to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Black voices featured in the spots and who are supporting this message include: rapper and actor Bun B and Nadeska, who is host and Executive Producer of “Everyday Struggle,” Complex’s hip-hop debate show. The new campaign website (BeThePowerOfUs.org) features social media assets to encourage the sharing of COVID-19 safety tips on social distancing, face mask-wearing, and personal hygiene, such as hand washing. In addition, as so many are being affected financially during the pandemic, the website also provides information on getting tested for free. With over 45,000 Black lives lost to COVID to date and COVID-19 infection cases rising throughout the nation, this campaign is more important than ever.

“As the number of Black lives lost due to COVID-19 continues to rise daily, it is extremely important to speak directly to the Black community about having the power to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The entire Complex Networks’ team that worked tirelessly to bring this initiative to fruition knew it was our responsibility as a trusted media brand to inform on this important issue. We thank the Ad Council and CDC for being our partners in delivering this important message. We want The Power of Us to educate and give the Black community the power to save ourselves, our families, and our communities,” said Meyako Hughes, Director of Brand Partnerships, Complex Networks.

Complex Networks produced a robust toolkit for media partners to support the campaign. In addition to the fully immersive website, they also created social videos, web banners with custom design, color, tone, and messaging to authentically connect with the Black community. Complex Networks is also donating $1M in media added value, which includes a social package, digital donated media, and a brand study to measure the impact of the advertising. The social package includes organic social posts on Complex’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter handle, and the digital donated media includes homepage takeovers and video display units across their major properties.

In addition to the robust Complex support, the campaign will receive donated support from TikTok, Reddit, REVOLT TV, and Facebook. 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.

Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council, said, “The Power of Us is a message of empowerment and inspiration to continue the fight against the Coronavirus. This is a necessary platform for the Black community who have been disproportionately impacted by the Coronavirus because of systemic healthcare, economic, and social inequalities. We’re so grateful for the talent and expertise of the Complex Networks team in helping us develop the campaign and bring it to life.”

This effort builds upon the Ad Council’s ongoing effort to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Since their first campaign was launched in mid-March, over 72% of all American adults are aware of at least one of the Ad Council’s COVID-19 efforts. To date, the Ad Council’s efforts have reached 35 billion impressions across $404 million in donated, earned and shared media. This has translated to over 58 million consumer engagements and nearly 31 million direct sessions to Coronavirus.gov.

To learn more, visit BeThePowerofUs.org, view the PSA on YouTube, or share content from the website on social media using #ThePowerofUs.

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.

Complex Networks
Complex Networks champions the people, brands and new trends you need to know now, will obsess over next, and we build consumer universes around them. We're what a modern entertainment company looks like and what others have followed since 2002. From pop culture and style (Complex), food entertainment (First We Feast), music discovery (Pigeons and Planes), sneaker news (Sole Collector) to our festival of cultural convergence (ComplexCon) -- if you want to be part of what's next and build valuable relationships with the audiences who live in it, join us at Complex Networks.

Ad Council Media Contact

Emily Kostic: ekostic@adcouncil.org