Alicia Keys and the Ad Council Thank Essential Workers in This Soulful Tribute

'Out There for Us' features her track 'Good Job'

In a new PSA, the Ad Council and Alicia Keys thank essential workers for their courage and dedication in the face of Covid-19, and encourage viewers to do the same.

"Good Job," the singer's piano-ballad tribute to unsung heroes, composed pre-pandemic, provides the soundtrack for the spot below, developed with R/GA.

#OutThereForUs | Thanking Essential Workers | Ad Council

"These streets aren't empty. They're filled with courage, compassion and strength," we're told, as images of apparently deserted cities and towns give way to shots of healthcare professionals, police officers, postal and delivery workers, grocers, garbage collectors and more.

"Essential workers are out there," the ad continues. "Now you can do something out there for them." Ultimately, we're asked to submit notes of thanks tagged #OutThereForUs. These posts will appear on outdoor digital screens and billboards in cities facing heavy surges of the virus, and in some cases run near the workplaces of specific individuals or groups being thanked. Ally Financial, Clear Channel Outdoor, Lamar Advertising, Outcome Health and Vistar donated media. 

Some of the messages, generated by the Ad Council in advance of the campaign's launch, are slotted for New York City's Times Square, which has become a mecca for hosting thank-you's to essential workers.

"There are so many heroes and brave individuals stepping up to support their communities right now, it was important that we were able to depict the full range of essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic," Ad Council president and CEO Lisa Sherman tells Muse.

"While most of the nation self-isolates, our essential workers still go out every day, risking their lives, to provide us with critical services," she says. "And whether they're seeing the film or digital out-of-home assets, we want them to come away knowing that they are appreciated, that we see them as heroes."

The Keys PSA drops on broadcast, online and social channels. Her song, which debuted last week during a CNN Global Town Hall on Covid-19 developments, "took on a greater and more universal meaning [in light of the crisis], perfectly articulating the message of thanks and appreciation we were hoping to convey," Sherman says.
 
The lyrics begin,

"You're the engine that makes all things go
And you're always in disguise, my hero
I see your light in the dark
Smile in my face when we all know it's hard

There's no way to ever pay you back
Bless your heart, know I love you for that
Honest and selfless,
I don't know if this it helps, but…

Good job
You're doing a good job
You're doing a good job
Don' get too down
The world needs you now
Know that you matter."

R/GA executive creative director Chris Joakim believes the work will stand out from other Covid-19 campaigns because "there is no brand, and the out-of-home messages aren't meant to feel like ads—they're real messages of thanks from real people," he says.

"Out There for Us" follows numerous Ad Council-led and -supported initiatives designed to address various aspects of the current crisis.

These include last week's extension of the #AloneTogether campaign created with MTV and the ViacomCBS' Entertainment & Youth brands, with a new website addressing mental health issues and PSAs urging viewers to "Stay Calm, Stay Connected and Stay Active."

In addition, the Ad Council assisted with Snapchat's "Here for You" program on dealing with anxiety, and helped shepherd Sesame Workshop's efforts to bring coronavirus safety tips to the whole family.

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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