NBCUniversal Creates Homemade ‘The More You Know’ PSAs for COVID-19

Dozens of the company's stars participated in the spots from home

A video still of Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson
Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson are among the NBCUniversal stars participating in the new PSA campaign. NBCUniversal

Using homemade videos with some of TVs biggest stars, NBCUniversal created a new series of its iconic, 30-year-old “The More You Know” public service announcements for the coronavirus pandemic. The new campaign will feature more than a dozen spots, rolling out over the next few weeks.

Celebrities from various NBCUniversal programs—including Jane Lynch, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, Mario Lopez, Al Roker, Kelly Clarkson, Andy Cohen and Savannah Guthrie—are featured in the spots. The campaign, in both English and Spanish, was created through a partnership with the Ad Council, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the White House.

The goal of the new campaign is to “bring vital information to hundreds of millions of Americans and help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Linda Yaccarino, NBCU’s chairman of advertising and partnerships, in a Facebook post.

The first spots, which were released today, include messages encouraging social distancing and promoting mental health and wellness, as well as information on the risk factors related to the virus and how to be a good parent during this time.

It’s the latest in a wave of PSAs that brands have participated in since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Last Tuesday, CBS rolled out both an #AloneTogether campaign promoting social distancing, and ViacomCBS created its own mashup of network stars in a spot called “We’re All in This Together.”

This week, the Ad Council partnered with several large tech and media corporations to create spots featuring director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.

All the video for the coronavirus-themed “The More You Know” spots was shot and produced by a remote team—from the talent using iPhones or personal cameras at home to NBCUniversal’s producers and in-house creatives who’ve set up their own remote workspaces.

Many brands and tech providers supported the network’s PSA campaign through donations of commercial airtime, service fees or distribution. Those partners include Comcast-NBCUniversal, Acxiom, Cadent, Canoe, Crossix, Epsilon, Experian, Facebook, Panera Bread, ShareThis, Snap Inc., The Trade Desk, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and Vizio-Inscape.

@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.