oOh! and Junkee push positivity and kindness amid Covid-19 crisis

The outdoor media business is using its network of billboards to help with postive messages in this difficult time

oOh!media and its publishing business, Junkee Media, have launched a new campaign promoting kindness, consideration and compassion by sharing positive messages and good news stories from around the globe across its assets.

oOh said the initiative aims to help reinforce the need for people to not lose their community spirit in the face of adversity as well as to provide some light-hearted distraction for Australians during the Covid-19 crisis. 

oOh!media chief content and creative officer, Neil Ackland, explained to CMO that in the current climate, the brands felt they had a role to play in using its network and its media to try and promote positive messages.

“We’re always talking about how the network is more than just advertising. It's actually a really powerful way to disseminate news or to get messages out in a different way," he said. "We really wanted to galvanise our team and put a more positive message into those retail environments and just to get people to stop and think about the people around them and show more compassion and kindness and sensitivity to their fellow countrymen and women."

As part of the campaign, Junkee Media is sharing stories across oOh!media’s digital assets of ‘random acts of kindness’ from around the world, such as celebrity musicians performing concerts while in self-isolation, or Italians singing from their balconies while in lockdown, across oOh!’s retail, street and rail networks.

It also includes positive messages encouraging Australians to shop responsibly, buy only what they need, consider the elderly and disabled, and spread kindness are also running across oOh!’s retail network as part of the campaign.

Ackland said the campaign has been well received and by its partners as well as staff and advertisers because the organisation is trying to make a difference. 

“It's only a small difference, but it definitely makes a difference. It is a really difficult time for everybody and it really felt like our network could make a difference,” he said.

Ackland acknowledged it’s an anxious time for many and the campaign aims to inspire positivity among Australians and some necessary distraction. But he also believes brands may have a key role now and in the future when the recovery eventually comes.

“I think there will be some brands that can really make a difference at this point in time to people's lives, whether it's financial services sector, health, supermarkets. There's many things that they can all be doing, whether it’s communications, services or things with their products, which can make a massive difference right now,” he said.

“And let's face it, this is a time millions of Australians will have a big economic shock as a result of this. So brands are going to need to step in and as well as government play an important role.”

Ackland sees brands like something of a touchstone during turbulent times, where people look to institutions and brands they trust, to provide some stability and continuity.

“At this time, they've got a really critical role to play, along with government, in making sure that we can minimise the suffering and the pain as you go through this difficult challenge.

The first step is good messaging and support for customers during such a difficult time, but Ackland said tangible help is critical too. 

“Whether that's the banks pausing mortgage payments or the local gym pausing membership, all those kinds of things in any way they can help, will make a difference,” he said. “I think the ones that reach out and offer some kind of support will be the ones that get the support back in return when we come out the other side of this crisis."

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