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Stephen Lepitak
Editor at The Drum
Gracie Page
Emerging Technology Director at VMLY&R London

Apple, Google and others partner with Ad Council and US govt to expand coronavirus messaging

The Ad Council's #AloneTogether YouTube example

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are among the leading tech digital platforms to partner with the Ad Council and US government agencies to extend the reach and impact of Covid-19 response messaging.

The platforms working with the White House, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, SiriusXM and Pandora, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and Verizon Media, among others, to create messaging to help in communications about the coronavirus.

From custom filters to emojis to influencer content, the digital and technology partners are leveraging their tools to connect their audiences with potentially life-saving messages to help slow the spread of the virus.

"We have seen the media industry come together time and time again to address the most critical issues facing our country, and the Covid-19 pandemic is no exception," said Lisa Sherman, president and chief executive of the Ad Council. "These digital and technology platforms have generously donated their talents and reach to empower millions of Americans to stay safe, informed and connected."

This is part of the Ad Council's ongoing response to the Covid-19 crisis, working with the country's largest digital platforms and broadcast media networks to ensure the American public is receiving crucial and vetted information.

While each platform is providing customized support, the common goal is to drive audiences to coronavirus.gov, a centralized resource from HHS and the CDC.

Donated media also includes Cadreon, EMX (a division of Engine Group), and The Trade Desk, which are building private marketplaces for publishers to donate media inventory. Acxiom, Crossix and Fluent are donating audience targeting segments through LiveRamp to help reach millennials and those who are at higher risk for Covid-19. Plus, DoubleVerify and IAS are leveraging their ad blocking technologies to serve campaign messages across a breadth of publisher sites.

An influencer segment of the campaign will find popular talent – including Noah Cyrus, Taylor Bennet, Michelle Williams, Giannina Gibelli, Shubham Goel and Joey Sasso – who are starring in an upcoming PSA around social distancing. Created in partnership with Pereira O'Dell, the PSA will be supported by donated media from Facebook and Google/YouTube.

"We are always at our best when we respond to challenges as a community," said Tara Walpert Levy, vice-president, agency and brand solutions, Google and YouTube. "Right now, helping people get the right information to stay healthy is more important than ever."

Custom content creation will come from Pandora, who will make custom audio assets for media partners, an interactive campaign from Reddit, including a front page takeover, and a custom emoji from Twitter for the #AloneTogether hashtag. In addition, Snapchat will feature content on its app and Verizon Media is creating #AloneTogether content to be shared across its ecosystem of brands.

"Public health officials have made clear how important it is that young people take this seriously - and that they have a key role to play in helping stop the spread," said Jennifer Stout, vice-president of global public policy at Snap Inc. "We are committed to helping Snapchatters do their part, by providing fact-based news and information from trusted sources on our content platform, along with creative tools and experiences that help raise awareness for our community to protect themselves, their loved ones and the greater public."

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