The Ad Council partners with Twitch for new COVID 'Mask Up' PSA
As the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. hits an all-time high and some people continue to refuse to wear masks, coronavirus campaigns are extending their reach to new targeted audiences across the digital landscape.
The Ad Council is partnering with Twitch for the first time on a new public service announcement aimed at encouraging gamers to wear face coverings. The spot, called “My Mask is My Cheat Code,” features Techniq, a Twitch streamer with 52,200 followers on the platform, who encourages his followers to wear masks so they can “level up” and hang out with friends again. Techniq is especially close to the issue, having lost an uncle to COVID-19.
The video premiered over the weekend during one of Techniq’s livestreams, which saw nearly 250,000 viewers. The pro bono spot will continue to run on Twitch and is being distributed to the Ad Council’s network of media partners for donated time and space.
“Why do I wear a mask? Because when I’m not behind the screen, my mask is my cheat code, and when we stop the spread, we level up,” says the influencer in the 37-second spot. Techniq also points out how masks have historically been a part of the gaming community when it comes to cosplay.
Anastasia Goodstein, senior VP of digital product management at the Ad Council, says it was a sensible move by the organization to launch its first fully integrated media partnership with Twitch during this time to reach the growing number of gamers, due to COVID driving people indoors and onto their desktops and mobile devices.
“As more people are gaming due to quarantine, and the number of COVID cases is on the rise, Twitch’s service is a natural place to amplify the critical message of our Mask Up campaign, encouraging people across the country to wear face coverings in public,” says Goodstein.
A 2020 May report from gaming analytics platform Newzoo projected that in 2020, 2.7 billion gamers worldwide would spend $159.3 billion on video games, a 9.3 percent increase from the year before.
In the past, Twitch has been involved with the Ad Council board and has worked with the organization to support events and livestreams as part of the Ad Council's Game for Good initiative, which launched in 2016.
It’s also not the first time the Ad Council has created work with video-game streamers. Goodstein says the Ad Council has partnered with gaming influencers to promote past projects and has created work with video game publishers based off their intellectual property.
The new PSA is part of the Ad Council’s ongoing COVID-19 efforts and its Mask Up campaign. The Mask Up campaign began in July and launched as a partnership with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and Jane Rosenthal, producer and CEO Tribeca Enterprises. Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow directed a series of spots encouraging mask-wearing and voiced by celebrities like Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Jamie Foxx and Anthony Mackie.