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Privately funded PR campaign to fight spread of coronavirus targets 20-somethings

rona4real.com (used with permission)
One of the visuals of the Rona $5 million campaign.

Soon you’re going to see Rona on billboards, hear Rona on the radio, and Rona will pop up on some of your favorite social media sites. Rona is a new ad campaign to get young adults to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

Rona – as in co-RONA-virus – is a red dot wearing sunglasses, described as a mischievous, malevolent character bent on infecting Michiganders who let down their guard. It has several arms that cannot quite reach six feet away.

In a short video depicting people on the beach, a narrator says, “If you go to the beach, don’t get burned. Stay out of Rona’s reach,” as the Rona character attached to one person reaches out to touch another.

DTE Energy Executive Chairman Gerry Anderson said the privately-funded effort by Michigan businesses is to remind the 18-29 year old crowd to keep wearing masks, keep staying socially distant, and to wash their hands often. The number of cases each week has been rising recently and that age group is the most often infected. The 30-39 year olds are the second highest group contracting the disease.

Credit rona4real.com (used with permission)
One of the Rona campaign visuals.

“Mindsets right now are fatigued and worn out. And what we need is some fresh ways to encourage people to hang in there,” Anderson said.

The billboards and visuals depict 20-somethings at the local pub or at the beach with Rona clinging to one person only to reach out and touch the others.

“We’ve got 200 billboards up across the state. Now we’re on 75 radio stations, very active on social media,” Anderson said.

One of the Rona radio ads is a young woman saying, “Believe me, Rona is for real. And it’s nasty. Rona loves a crowd, really enjoys a festival and can follow you home,” going on to advise masks, handwashing, and keeping distant while throwing in the rona4real.com website at the end.

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