Ad Council PSA Series Seeks to Offer Timely, Clear Information on COVID-19

The Ad Council's partnership with media and government organizations for a series of coronavirus PSAs aims to quickly reduce public confusion and offer authoritative information, the Ad Council's president/CEO tells PRNEWS.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there...[and] many people are confused about what they can and should be doing," Ad Council chief Lisa Sherman says. "Our goal is to quickly communicate verified, trusted information from the CDC directly to audiences...through various media channels and platforms.”

The PSAs will target particularly “high-risk populations,” as well as the general public. Users will be directed to for updated information and directives.

Media will donate air time and space on other platforms to run the content. For years, the Ad Council has created memorable PSAs for government organizations, for-profit sponsors and nonprofits.


Partners mentioned in the Ad Council’s announcement include:

  • The White House
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Major media networks and digital platforms, including ViacomCBS, The Atlantic, iHeartMedia and ABC/WaltDisney Television

Supplied by the CDC and NBCUniversal in English and Spanish, the Ad Council’s extensive coronavirus messaging toolkit includes assets for social media, scripts tailored to television and audio, press release templates and social media copy, graphics and videos.

PR pros, some of whom also handle advertising, likely will find this boilerplate useful as they communicate uniform, health authority-approved messaging.


The Ad Council has considered that assets may need to be updated as knowledge around the virus shifts. “As information changes, we’ll continue to work closely with experts at the CDC to ensure our messaging is accurate, vetted and up-to-date,” Sherman adds.

The gathering of media monoliths and government entities was no small undertaking. But it was necessary to centralize urgent communications resources, Sherman argues. “Coalitions are imperative. Right now, speed and public trust are everything, and they’re not two easy things to combine. The only way we’re going to get verified, trusted information out to the greater public at scale is by working together.”

A Unified Effort

Within the first few days of the pandemic, Sherman said, a large number of companies, communications and marketing leaders reached out to the Ad Council to pool services, channels and platforms.

Sherman said there was an unprecedented level of collaboration between all involved. And while each media company requires a distinct strategy, the Council succeeded in brokering and producing brand-agnostic creative, making it customizable for communicators at any type of organization.

“The lesson is this: partnerships are key. Typical roles and responsibilities don’t exist anymore. Let people help where they can. Create open-source briefs and tips so that anyone with a platform can help spread your information,” Sherman advised.

This article is part of PRNEWS' daily COVID-19 coverage, click here to see the latest updates.