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Virginia Department of Health COVIDWISE Campaign

Virginia Department of Health: Dedicated to protecting and promoting the health of Virginians, VDH works to promote healthy lifestyle choices to combat chronic disease, educate the public about emergency preparedness and threats to their health, and track disease outbreaks in Virginia. Their work during the COVID-19 pandemic was vital. VDH sought out Madison+Main to create, implement, and manage the advertising, marketing, and PR launch of COVIDWISE, the first-in-the-nation Exposure Notifications app using Google and Apple’s Bluetooth Low Energy technology.

The challenge

Madison+Main’s overall goal was to gain as many app downloads as possible from August 5, 2020 through December 30, 2020. Our agency worked to communicate an awareness of the app across the Commonwealth of Virginia, and most importantly, ensure widespread adoption of the application so it could be effective in the COVID-19 fight and stopping the spread through exposure notifications. Our challenge was to encourage app downloads to an audience that values privacy in the digital age.

The approach

When COVIDWISE was launched in August 2020, our goal was simple yet audacious: encourage as many Virginians as possible to download and use the app in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Over the next 22 months, we unleashed an omnipresent awareness campaign that was pervasive, yet always welcoming, informative, and actionable, which effectively reached every corner of the Commonwealth. With strategic messaging that ensured the public that the app did not collect location data or any personally identifiable information, Madison+Main targeted potential COVIDWISE users through all channels — including Digital Media, Printed Materials, Outdoor (Billboard, Bus, and Transit) Partnership, Public Relations, and Traditional Media (Print, TV, Radio) followed by a continued digital presence to promote app downloads and usage.

The results

Prior to COVID-19, Exposure Notification (EN) apps were non-existent. Based on this, our team streamlined the key messaging about this technology including what is COVIDWISE, its importance, and how it functions. The results were incredible. COVIDWISE gained more than 3.6 million Exposure Notifications users, with 84% of Virginians using it to stop the spread of COVID-19 — with an incredible average of 5,605 downloads per day and 78,492 downloads per month. With more than 10,922 media mentions and a broadcast reach of 32.6 million, COVIDWISE saw national coverage on outlets like Washington Post, NPR, and CNN.

COVIDWISE Infographic | Virginia Department of Health COVIDWISE Campaign
COVIDWISE Hand Fans | Virginia Department of Health

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