FARGO - South Dakota no longer sits alone with an edgy slogan for an uncomfortable issue.
The region now has a motto we can all plop down on during this extended at-home coronavirus fight: “Couch, we’re on it!”
The motto, a humorous spin on South Dakota’s cringe-inducing anti-drug campaign, “Meth, we’re on it,” is the brainchild of the folks at Tellwell, a Fargo marketing firm, and is supported by a mix of public and private entities.
The slogan is part of the “Save Summer Now” campaign, mainly geared toward younger people - teens and into their 30s - encouraging them to sacrifice and make peace with lounging today, to enjoy fun in the sun, when sun finally heats up these northern climes.
“For the safety of others, it’s important to stay at home and practice physical distancing,” one of the first Facebook posts said Monday, March 23. “Watch your favorite childhood movie, start that fun craft project you’ve always wanted to do, bake a cake; the couch is your oyster. Let’s beat this virus. Together. #savesummer.”
Max Kringen, founder of Tellwell, is one of the volunteer leaders. By Tellwell’s telling, the idea grew virally.
Kringen said Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney got things rolling by reaching out to Greg Tehven, the co-founder of Emerging Prairie, about the need to create messaging to encourage people to embrace social distancing.
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“If we can get people to stay home a couple of weeks, we can flatten the (infection) curve much faster,” was Mahoney’s plea, Kringen said.
Others got involved, including Scott Meyer of The Nice Center at North Dakota State University, and the folks from the Kilbourne Group, Kringen said.
The mix of nonprofit, business, government and other groups coming together to educate the public is interesting, Kringen said Wednesday, March 25. The primary channels are Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, he said. But there’s also a colorful website (www.savesummernow) packed with fun memes and events planned for this summer.
The campaign takes a three-pronged approach to messaging, starting with “snappy, sassy ways to retell the tips (for social distancing) that are already out there,” he said.
Secondly, “we’re trying to get people to share their stories about why summer is important to them” with selfie videos and photos, he said.
A long message posted on Save Summer Now’s Facebook page includes a long list of summer doings including camping, biking, kayaking, bonfires and boulder wall climbing.
“There is a lot to look forward to this summer, but if we as Americans don’t make changes NOW to stop the spread of COVID-19, we won’t be able to enjoy it. No more excuses. The sooner we act, the sooner we can go back to living our best lives. Who’s with us?” the Facebook post says. “Let’s make this summer EPIC!”
The campaign will also include short - 60 to 90 second - synopses of news conferences by local and state leaders, Kringen said.
“What’s really great about this is that everyone involved is donating 100 percent of their time,” he said.
Donations are also being sought from area businesses and corporations to pay for ads on radio, television and other media to amplify the message, Kringen said.