July 17, 2020

Sync Watch: Aussie muso soundtracks coronavirus campaign

Sync Watch: Aussie muso soundtracks coronavirus campaign

A new campaign on how best to avoid contracting COVID-19 has gone viral.

The #WhatWeNeedToDo campaign was adopted by two brands and the three major TV networks in the first 48 hours after Neil Mitchell of talkback radio 3AW put a call out for ideas. 

Singer-songwriter Michael Burrows was out cycling when his associate Robert Gilbert of Gilbert Media rang to tell him there was a project he could get involved in.

“Neil didn’t say anything specifically about a song for the campaign,” Burrows said. “But as a songwriter that put me on edge to solve something.”

At the time Burrows was focussed on the release of his new single ‘Brand New Heartache’ featuring his childhood friends and fellow singer-songwriters Lior and Simon Starr.

But his “other” job as a jingles writer instantly gave him the hook and melody, and by the time he reached his Brand Music studio 30 minutes later, the song was finished in his head.

“We don’t stand so close in supermarket aisles, we’ve got to keep our masks on just for a little while, and if it’s safe to stay at home then just stay at home, we’ve got to all grow up and do whatever helps us move along,” goes the first verse.

While cycling he rang ahead to the studio and sang the song to his producer Grainger Lock who began laying down the basics of the track.  

“Arriving at the studio, I went straight to the vocal booth, did the vocals an added guitar,” he said.

 A video was shot featuring friends with hands shaped W, to depict “we” and “work together” and the package went to Neil Mitchell who played the track on repeat.

The video took social media by storm, and soon families, as well as Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton, Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp and model Brodie Harper, added their hands.

Within hours, discount pharmacy chain Chemist Warehouse chief executive Mario Tascone took to the song and replaced his daily prime time national ads with the ‘What We Need To Do’ video. It was also given high rotation play in the chain’s 400 outlets.

Burrows worked with the chain’s agency Stratosphere to cut the video to a 30-second spot.

Tascone challenged free-to-air Seven, Nine and Ten to fill any empty ad spots with the video – which they did. McDonalds Victoria also started playing the video at its restaurants through the state.

“Radio and other media are also giving it bipartisan support. I’m also adding subtitles in a whole array of languages because the message has to reach everybody if it’s going to be effective.”

The What We Need to Do campaign also covers billboards, stickers and badges which ask people to work together,  follow social distancing rules and to take responsibility for their actions.