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Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Stay Home, Save Lives

Winner in Local Campaign

Finalist in Spokesperson, Government & Politics, Humor

Gold Honor in PSA

Audience Honor in Local Campaign


At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicagoans were not taking the stay-at-home orders seriously. Deaths were trending up and lives were at risk. Lori Lightfoot, the Mayor of Chicago, knew that steps needed to be taken to stop the spread of the virus to prevent Chicago from becoming a “hot spot” and to prove the pandemic could be contained. We were tasked with helping Mayor Lightfoot execute her “Stay Home, Save Lives” campaign in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.  

Strategy and Execution

Our strategy for Mayor Lightfoot’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” campaign was twofold. One, we used humor in our PSAs to break through during a serious time. Two, we featured Mayor Lightfoot herself as the star of our PSAs, showing Chicago’s typically no-nonsense, all-business mayor in a humorous light in relatable meme-worthy quarantine situations. This helped our idea have an enormous impact and break through the barrage of COVID-19 related media.  

We worked with a limited crew at one location on a one-day shoot, all while following strict COVID-19 shooting protocols. Creatively we knew our films had to be simple enough to execute properly yet be memorable, so we crafted short scripts that would allow us to film a variety of short PSAs in a small window of time while utilizing an on-the-fly improvisational style.  


Our “Stay Home, Save Lives” PSAs hit big, spreading through social media channels and the city – helping to stem the surge of COVID-19 numbers in Chicago and nationwide.  

The campaign’s impact was immediate. Our PSAs garnered over 96,000 views on YouTube. The Mayor’s tweet featuring the PSAs received over 12,000 likes and over 6,000 retweets. Donated and earned media helped spread the message, leading to a local and national impact. 

The campaign drew instant attention amongst various channels on TV and social, such as the Today Show, Trevor Noah, CNN, the BBC and more. Michelle Obama even posted about our PSAs on her Instagram page for her 44MM+ followers. This helped spread the message and contribute to decreasing COVID-19 numbers in the city of Chicago, proving we could handle the pandemic. 

This all contributed to decreasing COVID-19 numbers in the city of Chicago as well as the state of Illinois. In turn, this helped combat the spread of COVID-19 nationwide.  


Video for Stay Home, Save Lives

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Havas Chicago, City of Chicago


Entry Credits