Check it out: Public sticks Tom Hanks outside the LCBO

Who's better at convincing renegades to keep a distance than Hollywood's favourite neighbour?

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Most parts of Ontario are entering Stage 3 of reopening today. The government is trusting citizens will continue to follow the rules and keep their safe distance. But, of course, there will no doubt be renegades who either forget or simply choose not to social distance.

So agency Public created a safety measurement tool that’s hard to miss or ignore.

Much like the insatiable need for toilet paper, floor decals will forever be remembered as a sign of the pandemic times. Most are simply yellow lines marking a two-metre gap between each person lining up. But Public’s #HanksForDistancing floor sticker is far more memorable because it’s in the shape of Tom Hanks, to scale.

The agency chose the actor to help people stay safe outside LCBO stores in Toronto because he’s both exactly six-feet tall and, having survived the virus, is “a vocal mask and distancing champion.” Public is looking to install the decals around various other retail spaces in the city, with promotion kicking off on social media through geo-targeted ads.

Screen Shot 2020-07-16 at 4.21.18 PMCo-founder and CEO Phillip Haid tells strategy why his social purpose agency got in the keep-a-distance decal business.

What are you helping with the fight against COVID-19?

“Since the start of COVID-19 we have been helping our clients navigate their responses. We also created an overview of best in class corporate responses to help guide and inspire companies across North America. As we move out of Stage 2… [we've] observed many people and businesses beginning to be more relaxed. And as a social impact agency focused exclusively on advancing societal benefit, we thought, what can we do? What should we do? #HanksForDistancing emerged out of these questions and observations.”

Why a humorous decal versus functional ones you typically find outside stores?

“We are all so inundated with messages. It’s hard to break through. Even when the message is simple and clear. And we know from our behaviour change work that “fun” can be a great nudge. Tom Hanks is perfect because he was the first known celebrity to get COVID-19, is six feet tall, and is such a great person. So who wouldn’t want to be reminded by Tom Hanks? We think it’s a winning combination to remind people, get them to keep their distance and feel good doing it.”