When we are all in despair, we turn to the holly-iest and jolliest place we know: the White House. In light of the sadness caused by the pandemic, the White House is back at it again to “defeat despair”. Recently, news came to light of a planned $265 million dollar public relations effort headed by the Department of Health and Human Services to lift American spirits in light of the coronavirus (No, unfortunately I am not kidding here). .
Imagine it. You wake up one fateful morning to a message from the happiest place on Earth, not Disneyland, but the White House. Why, what could it be? Turning on your television, you see your favorite politically-neutral celebrities. They have a message for you! Definitely not one with any political undertones or propaganda-like in any way, shape, or form. No, sireee.
Although the public did miss out on this campaign when efforts collapsed in September, these are some of the campaign ideas that were previously considered:
The Battle Scene
As your TV lights up, you see a group of politically-neutral celebrities dressed in Ancient Roman battle gear charging toward a coronavirus shaped city labeled “Despair.” With shields and swords, they charge at it, and the camera pans to a city of sad and depressed citizens. The celebrities perform a fight scene, and when they declare they have won, all smiles are shone on citizens' faces, who are wearing see through masks. The screen turns to white and the celebrities walk back on screen and say “Wear a mask, defeat despair”.
Another television campaign that was considered was a Halloween-themed extravaganza in which those same politically-neutral celebrities, decked out in Halloween costumes, walk around American neighborhoods and perform a flash mob dance number to the national anthem. Children wearing costumes at home watch the dance being performed on television and point out their favorite celebrity to their parents. Then, the commercial flashes to Halloween 2021 in which people are outside trick-or-treating and things are “back to normal” and the celebrities come on screen and say [insert catchy tagline here].
Bringing Back Home Alone 2
In a more spirited campaign, the Department of Health and Human Services envisioned a throwback to President Donald Trump’s cameo in Home Alone 2. The camera pans to the Plaza Hotel at Christmas time where a politically-neutral celebrity taps the President on the shoulder (both wearing masks) and asks where the hand sanitizer is. The President gives them directions and in the lobby, where the rest of the celebrities are handing out gift boxes with all the coronavirus essentials. People are smiling and then a politically-neutral group of singers come into the lobby singing “America the Beautiful” in a Christmas carol-esque style. The camera then cuts to American children opening up the coronavirus gift boxes filled with goodies such as pre-moistened wipes and smiling at the camera. The scene ends with a “Happy Holidays.”.
As you can see, the public missed out on a very important campaign that would have, by simply existing, done so much for the public. No, it would not help those currently suffering in overcrowded hospitals or the businesses that have been forced closed due to the economic fallout from the pandemic, but it would have definitely “defeated despair”.