BBC StoryWorks launched two new campaigns in response to the United Nations’ global callout to creatives to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The BBC’s in-house branded content division responded to the challenge with two ideas, which were among 17,000 entries submitted to the UN, to translate critical public health messages into content that engages and informs the public across different cultures, languages, communities, and platforms.

Both campaigns were created in ways that avoided the need for travel or filming in close proximity and therefore adhered to the social distancing guidelines which they promote.

“Maintain distance. Maintain community” is an animation-led execution which explores what physical distancing looks like and means around the world, and highlights our similarities, differences, and connections across continents and cultures. Rae Morris kindly permitted the use of her track Someone out There to compliment the animations, which were licensed through Universal Music Publishing Group.

“Kindness connects us. Pass it on” features a video chain of positivity moving around the world. By inviting creators at home to share examples of kindness, the campaign combines user-generated content from people all across the globe to share a message of positivity.

The campaigns brought together the insight of BBC StoryWorks’ teams in cities around the world to create campaigns that transcend language and culture. They utilise the BBC’s global cultural expertise and almost a century of world-class storytelling experience.

From today the campaigns will benefit from being broadcast across the BBC’s global portfolio on BBC World News, and the BBC World Service, which reach a combined audience of 396 million people across the world each week in 42 languages, as well as on BBC StoryWorks’ social channels. They will also be made available to other broadcasters. The move follows a recent initiative in which BBC Global News joined forces with CNN and Euronews to offer $50 million worth of free ad inventory to promote public health messages around coronavirus.

Krystal Bowden, VP BBC StoryWorks Americas, said, “There has never been a more crucial moment for the creative community to find new ways to communicate vital messages that resonate across the world. By tapping into our global team’s vast creative storytelling expertise, we were able to craft narratives that span and transcend national boundaries. We are enormously proud to have collaborated with the UN and contributed to such an important initiative.”

Richard Pattinson, SVP, BBC StoryWorks, said:,“We’re incredibly proud of the modest part we’ve been able to play around education and hope as it relates to the ongoing pandemic. I’m grateful to everyone who’s been involved, and in particular outside the BBC of the support of The Smalls film-maker community for their contribution and superb creativity.”

Dawda Jobarteh, global head of UN SDG Strategy Hub, said, “We have been overwhelmed by the tremendous response to the UN’s Open Brief and the ongoing efforts of people around the world who are stepping up to help each other in the face of this unprecedented crisis. We are thrilled to have the support of BBC StoryWorks in not only responding to the Brief with novel and effective creative but also in their commitment to widespread distribution in multiple markets. This work could not be more timely as we see the virus spreading globally at an exponential rate.”

To determine the success of the campaign, BBC StoryWorks will roll out its proprietary emotional engagement toolkit, Science of Engagement. Whilst traditional metrics for measuring a campaign’s success include number of views, dwell times or click-through rates, Science of Engagement allows BBC StoryWorks campaigns to gain further insight by applying a combination of traditional research metrics with facial coding techniques, to determine the link between emotions and campaign metrics that can enhance the success of content-led marketing campaigns.

The launch of the UN campaigns coincides with BBC StoryWorks’ recent fifth anniversary. The branded content division is now in eight cities worldwide and content-led revenue now accounts for more than half of BBC Global News’ advertising income.