Boarded up shops and locked shop doors. Time Square and California’s busiest freeways standing empty. Coyotes commandeering the Golden Gate Bridge. When coronavirus case numbers began rising across the country, the world as we knew it ground to a stop. But the storytelling didn’t. In fact, it may have made us even more creative. From helping local restaurants to getting the word out about life-saving mask producers, our COVID-19 case studies show how the WK Studios team spent the first few months of lockdown.  

Our initial COVID-19 response: what now?

Like many of our neighbors, partners, and clients, when COVID-19 struck, things got chaotic. It feels like a lifetime ago now. But in those early days, it felt impossible to predict the next hour (let alone plan weeks or months in advance). 

Expecting the worst, many small business owners proactively tightened their budgets, shifted to remote work where possible, and hunkered down to weather the storm. As a team, we had to consider our options. Sure, we could sit around and wait for the phone to ring. Or we could use our unexpected free time to get to work in our community. 

Stay home, stay safe, stay fed. 

As state-mandated orders rolled in, restaurants found themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Suddenly, they were 100% reliant on takeout business. But nobody knew they were open for takeout business. WK Studios partnered with several area favorites and developed a campaign to get the word out. We donated our resources to help restaurants produce some simple television commercials. To maximize our reach, we made sure they could be shared via social media as well. 

In the end, we produced commercials for Bo’s Falafel, Thump Coffee, Crux, Zydeco, and Greg’s Grill. For context, it usually takes us about three to six weeks  to produce a single commercial. We worked through five commercials in three weeks.  

But we couldn’t have done it alone. A commercial without distribution is like telling your story to an empty room. So we got to work, networking with our community partners. Central Oregon Daily agreed to air all five commercials (free of charge). At the same time, Compass Commercial and Bend Chamber took to social media. And, of course, the restaurant owners and managers put their own social channels to work. 

Unfortunately, some restaurants closed their doors  temporarily before we could roll out their commercials. But thanks to everybody pulling together, we got most of them on the air. 

Addressing the mask shortage

As if empty toilet paper shelves weren’t enough, during the first few months of coronavirus, the nation saw an extreme PPE shortage, including N95 masks and gowns. Thankfully, Medline Industries, an international medical supply company based out of Chicago, sprang into action. They transitioned their reprocessing facility in Redmond to addressing the mask shortage. And we helped them tell the story of launching the new project. The goal: to clean and sterilize used face masks and respirators for safe reuse. Our video helps show the process behind accepting bulk shipments of used masks and making them safe for the health community to use again. 

 

Community first COVID-19 response

While things have started to return to normal, we know that there’s plenty of work left to be done in the community. We’re grateful to have a team with the ability to respond quickly when our partners need all hands on deck. Ready to take the next (or first) step in telling your story? Get in touch, we’d love to help