Ford appeals to patriotic duty with campaign to curb COVID-19

Dive Brief:

  • Ford Motor Company debuted a campaign that urges people to protect themselves against COVID-19 in the next few months as part of their patriotic duty to help the country recover. The vehicle maker’s #FinishStrong campaign debuted with a 30-second spot during the Citrus Bowl on ABC and the Peach, Rose and Sugar Bowls on ESPN and during Fox NFL games, per an announcement.
  • Actor Bryan Cranston narrates the spot, which shows portraits of frontline workers and people who survived their bouts with COVID-19. The commercial aims to “appeal to Americans’ shared sense of patriotism and what’s right — rather than preaching at people or using fear as a motivator,” according to its statement.
  • The #FinishStrong initiative follows Ford’s other efforts to help people affected by the pandemic, including healthcare workers and people infected with the coronavirus. The company produced 20 million face shields, 50,000 ventilators and 1.4 million washable gowns, in addition to more than 32,000 respirators in a collaboration with 3M, per its announcement.

Dive Insight:

Ford’s #FinishStrong campaign seeks to urge Americans to avoid letting down their guards against COVID-19 in the next few months, especially as the country ramps up production of vaccines that were shown to be effective in testing. The campaign’s tone is optimistic in appealing to people’s sense of duty to the country and to each other by adopting safety measures like wearing face masks to help curb the virus’ spread. Mitigation efforts could save at least 50,000 lives by the end of March when vaccines are expected to be broadly available, according to a University of Washington School of Medicine estimate cited by Ford.

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Ford’s #FinishStrong effort is an iteration of cause-driven campaigns that aim to raise awareness about social issues. In this case, the cause is saving lives by taking steps to halt the spread of COVID-19, which has seen an alarming jump in the past few months as the weather turned colder and people gathered indoors during the holidays.

“We’re in this together and Ford’s goal since the pandemic started has been to try to help save lives,” Kumar Galhotra, president of the Americas and international markets group at Ford, said in a statement. “While many are weary from the challenges 2020 has thrown at us, now is the time for us to pull together, protect each other and finish strong until COVID-19 vaccines arrive more broadly. Lives are on the line.”

The campaign follows last month’s approval by U.S. health officials of several promising vaccines, giving drugmakers permission to distribute millions of doses nationwide. However, the distribution of vaccines has faced several hurdles amid a lack of resources and staffing, The New York Times reported. While the U.S. has distributed about 13.1 million doses in the past month, only 4.2 million had been administered by Jan. 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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