Elmo Sings About Hand-Washing in Sesame Street's Coronavirus PSAs

Helping parents and kids navigate a new reality

Sesame Street's Elmo wants you to wash your hands to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection, and the beloved muppet delivers that message in his own inimitable style with "Washy Wash," an animated jam to scrub those knuckles by:

Sesame Street: Washy Wash Song | How to Wash Your Hands

"Wash washy wash washy wash—wash your hands!"

Based on "Brushy Brush," Elmo's toothbrushing smash that's been viewed more than 1 billion times, "Washy Wash"—a key component of Sesame Workshop's coronavirus response—doesn't leave much room for misunderstanding.

But just in case the soapy message slips your mind, here's another tuneful take on cleanliness:

Sesame Street: Time to Wash Your Hands PSA | When to Wash Your Hands

That's right, wash those paws or … u can't touch this. And by this, we mean anything. (Rick James, Hammer, Elmo … they're all hardcore!)

Next, Grover teaches kids how to cough and sneeze safely—plus a "Washy Wash" encore with the whole gang:

Sesame Street: How to Sneeze and Cough Safely | #CaringForEachOther
Sesame Street: Caring For Myself, Caring For Others | Different Ways to Wash Your Hands

All four spots drop today, shared across HBO, PBS Kids, local PBS TV stations, Univision, YouTube, Ad Council platforms and elsewhere. Versions in many different languages are on tap. Here's "Washy Wash" in Spanish:

Sesame Street: Lavarnos las manos

The clips will also live on a "Caring for Each Other" hub, which went live last week. It boasts a range of content to help parents and children navigate the pandemic.

Sesame Street turned 50 last year; several generations have grown up with program. That iconic stature positions Elmo, Grover and Cookie as reassuring, familiar ambassadors of hope for kids of all ages.

"Sesame Street is there for children and families whether it's a sunny day or a stormy one, and unfortunately many families are facing unprecedented challenges right now," says Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vp of U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that has long produced the show. "We're committed to supporting families for the duration of this crisis and beyond—equipping them with the tools they need to get through this together and look to the future with hope and optimism."

She adds: "We wanted to have spots that combined healthy practices to model for children in ways that are fun, but also so that they can learn through detailed and repeated actions. We use catchy music and engaging lyrics, paced appropriately, but not frenetic, so that both grownups and children can easily sing along."

Numerous media properties and celebrities have stepped up with PSAs during the crisis, many doing so in partnership with the Ad Council and government entities such as the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

On Friday, NBCUniversal unveiled new "The More You Know" spots with stars including Kelly Clarkson, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, and Savannah Guthrie.

The More You Know: Coronavirus - Mental Health | NBCU Talent
The More You Know: Coronavirus - For Parents | NBCU Talent

Two weeks ago, Viacom preached social distancing with #AloneTogether, featuring social posts from late-night hosts Trevor Noah and David Spade.

An effort from Clear Channel, the Out of Home Advertising Association of America and Circle Graphics makes premium OOH space available for timely pandemic-related information on billboards, kiosks, car-tops and airport TVs.

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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