Like many companies, we at ProSiebenSat.1 felt a responsibility to help during the Corona crisis. Our daily reach of over 25 million people means we have a responsibility and unique capability to communicate. We reacted quickly to the crisis with a creative advertising campaign which encouraged our audience to follow the regulations, raised people’s spirits and said thank you to those on the frontline.
We’re staying at home
It was mid March. The health crisis had arrived and we knew we needed to do something to help. We whatsapped intensively and quickly put together a marketing taskforce to lead on the campaign. The next question was what the campaign should focus on: we considered social distancing and hygiene messaging but eventually decided to focus on stay at home. During the course of this we asked famous personalities from our channels (including Joko Winterscheidt and Frank Rosin, among others) and online influencers to record quick and authentic shout-outs on their mobiles asking people to stay at home. We then cut these short contributions together into a TV spot, always integrating the hashtag from the German health ministry #wirbleibenzuhause (we’re staying at home) at the bottom of the screen. These famous faces guaranteed our campaign attention, and it meant we built an emotional connection with our audience when asking them to do the right thing.
As the crisis progressed, it became clear that there were some members of society who were more adversely affected than others. For example, those on the frontline like healthcare workers, fire-fighters and supermarket cashiers who put themselves at risk every day. We as a broadcaster saw it as our duty to say thank you to these everyday heroes. And not only to those at increased risk, but those hidden heroes such as parents who were homeschooling their children every day. We contacted people we knew in these situations and asked them to record their own contribution saying “thank you” to everyone else for following the rules. This created a new connection with the audience because most of our audience could recognise themselves or their loved ones in this spot.
The advertising market had started to stagnate as a result of the crisis but we knew that companies still wanted to stay in front of customers. To enable them to do this in a suitable environment, we reserved a special advertising space every evening at 8.13 pm as a thank-you specifically for companies like Rewe, Penny and Lidl.
We will get through this
The lockdown felt unending and we felt people were getting tired of the whole situation. We felt a change of message was needed to reflect this. We therefore changed the message of our campaign to “Wir halten durch” (we will get through this) one week before lockdown finished to try and keep morale up and encourage people to keep taking precautionary measures. Finally, in a fitting finish to the process, we met with colleagues from 7Sports and worked with them to promote their #teamplayer campaign which encouraged people to wear #teamplayer masks.
This crisis is unique in our lifetimes, but I am proud that ProSiebenSat.1 could contribute in a small way. As a creative organisation, we succeeded in reacting quickly to an unpredictable situation and adapting our messaging as the public’s feelings changed throughout lockdown. Our responsibility as a media corporation with a wide reach is not just to entertain people, but to inform and motivate people to do the right thing during a crisis.