UN Issues Global Call to Creatives in Response to COVID-19

First open brief calls for messaging to help combat coronavirus

global call to creatives text
The messages are asked to amplify one of several themes outlined in mini briefs. United Nations

The United Nations wants your help.

With the World Health Organization spearheading the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, for the first time ever the UN is issuing an open brief to creatives everywhere to help spread health messages around the coronavirus pandemic designed to be effective, accessible and shareable.

The goal is to preemptively communicate guidance to areas that can still minimize or prevent a coronavirus outbreak while stopping the spread of misinformation.

“We are in an unprecedented situation, and the normal rules no longer apply. We cannot resort to the usual tools in such unusual times,” UN secretary general António Guterres said in a statement. “The creativity of the response must match the unique nature of the crisis—and the magnitude of the response must match its scale.”

In the call to creatives, the UN stressed that this is not a single campaign, but rather a call for a “multitude of creative solutions” to reach audiences across different cultures, age groups, geographies and languages. Creatives, influencers, talent networks, media owners and more are being called on to help bring the WHO’s measures to life and spread the message to previously unreached audiences.

To that end, the UN has identified personal hygiene, social distancing, knowing the symptoms, kindness contagion, myth busting and donations as key areas of public activation representing mini briefs for creatives.

The brief calls on content creators to target specific audiences; influencers to share this messaging with their followings; media owners to distribute them on their platforms; brands to donate media space or work these messages into existing communications; and community groups to help adapt and distribute messages so they resonate with their communities.

The UN asks that the messaging not deviate from the key points provided in the briefs, and communicates information derived from WHO guidance. It also requires all messaging to avoid inflammatory, discriminatory or stigmatizing language, and not use the WHO and UN logos. All content shared with the UN will be considered for co-branding and distribution through UN and partner platforms.

Update, March 31, 2020:

Creative ecosystem TLNT is now providing the platform to host submissions for the UN’s global call to creatives, following the launch of the global brief last week.

Creative agencies, individuals and communities from around the world will be able to participate.

“This is the first time that we are fighting a war where everyone is on the same side,” TLNT CEO Clare McKeeve said in a statement. “Looking back at how the famous ‘Rosie the Riveter’ and the Kitchener ‘Your Country Needs You’ posters galvanized the public into action during wartime, we believe the creative community can create today’s iconic posters, images and artwork to impact all communities across the world as part of this global mission to help save lives.”

Robert Skinner, executive director, UN Office for Partnerships, added, “We need to meet people where they are, with a stream of fresh, innovative content which drives home the personal behaviours and societal support needed today. We look to the creative community, using factual, accurate and science-based knowledge and messages, to help reach everyone, everywhere in this fight against the corona virus.”

@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.