With social distancing proving to be an effective method for preventing the spread of Covid-19, the Mater Hospital in Dublin- with the help of the marketing collective known as Wisdom Inc – has launched its own initiative to drive home the importance of social distancing.
The Mater Hospital is currently one of the busiest hospitals in the frontline that is dealing with the spread of Covid-19.
Wisdom Inc is a collective of well-known and experienced marketers and advertising experts that was set up several weeks ago to provide SMEs that have been impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak with practical advice and guidance on their marketing strategies.
Set up by marketing expert and executive director of JWT Folk, Gary Brown, it also includes Graham Taylor, the founder of GT Media (now Havas Media); Peter McPartlin, the former CEO of Today FM and MediaCom; Niamh Ní Dhónaill, a leading business and life coach and advertising industry veteran Martin Larkin. All of them are offering their services on a pro bono basis.
The Mater’s desire to augment existing Covid-19 messaging from the Government and HSE came after Daragh Hynes, a surgeon and member of the hospital’s Covid-19 Committee, reached out to Gary Brown.
The hospital is currently one of the busiest hospitals in the country at the moment and management and all frontline staff are keen to spread the message of social distancing.
“Daragh asked if I could help in communicating a message around the need for social distancing, as the hospital felt it was not getting through to people in the same way that washing of hands was. He felt it was particularly not getting through to the younger age groups,” says Brown.
“I then looked at a way of making this a message that would come out of the Mater Hospital in a way that would give it ownership of it. We also needed this message to be delivered in a less officious manner and make it engaging, entertaining and memorable,” says Brown.
“We are trying to break a habit here, you can’t break a habit just by instruction, you break it by persuasion,” adds Martin Larkin.
With little time to turn it around, the various stakeholders got to work immediately.
“I then landed on an ‘initialism’ of PKYD (Please Keep Your Distance). I then thought of developing a mnemonic that would help it stick and settled on the Village People’s YMCA and I rewrote the lyrics of first two verses,” he adds.
“I then contacted the rest of Wisdom Inc and we set about making this happen using our own contacts. Peter McPartlin got artist Gavin Glass to record the song in his studio, Niamh Ní Dhónaill got Showtime to agree choreography and I contacted photographer Julien Behal who arranged for Paddy Jordan and himself to shoot the video and Paddy’s wife, Genevieve, agreed to do edit,” he says.
Despite the challenges involved, including logistics, choreography, getting staff to set aside the 3 ½ hours it took to shoot the video, everything went smoothly, Brown says.
“We got 20 volunteers of from the staff of the Mater, including nurses, doctors, ambulance and laboratory staff as well as the kitchen and cleaning staff to participate in the video. We even got seven-times All Ireland winner Dr Michael Fitzsimmons to take part,” says Brown.
In the space of just five days, the campaign was turned around with everyone donating their services on a bro bono basis, Brown says.
“The call from Daragh came on Monday night and by Saturday evening, it was complete. What’s important, however is this is a request here – not an order – so please keep your distance,” Brown concludes.