Coronavirus infections and Covid-19 spiked over the summer, led by young people, who basically looked at a summer of masks and social distancing and noped out. So now business is doing what it does best: An awkward awareness campaign to get those hormone-crazed kids to think twice.
Enter "Rona 4 Real," in which an animated coronavirus wearing sunglasses and sometimes a baseball cap tries to hitch a ride to the party. The effort is funded by DTE Energy Foundation and others.
In recent days, billboard advertisements have begun showing up in Michigan that read, "Headed up north? Rona's down." The image features a group of young people at the beach along with the "Rona" character.
The new campaign is meant to bring a "fresh new approach" to increasing public awareness about the virus and break through fatigue people have about traditional COVID-19 messages, said Gerry Anderson, executive chairman of DTE Energy.
"They were worn out. They weren't landing anymore," Anderson said Wednesday of past awareness messages.
The campaign will run six months or so, Anderson said. About a quarter of Michigan's Covid cases this week are in people under 30.