Back in March, the United Nations sent a call to creative people around the world to develop messaging that could help stop the spread of COVID-19. My friend Sid, a fellow copywriter, forwarded me the link and over the last few weeks we’ve batted around some ideas. We finally landed on this.

And here’s what we came up with for the landing page –

The UN Creative Brief included some serious restrictions, and also a range of goals. Here’s how we justified our work –

Concept: Give Pause

Writers: Sid Murlidhar, Jim Mitchem

Art Director: Carissa Mak 

Key Area it Solves: Physical Distancing. And to a lesser degree, Kindness Contagion and Personal Hygiene

Visual: Images of empty landmarks that are usually bustling with people. 5th Avenue. The Louvre. Piazza di Spagna. In the center of all these landmarks is a white PAUSE button. 

Copy: stay indoors, practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings, save lives, 

Justification: According to sources, the idiom ‘to give pause’ means: “To cause one to take a moment to consider something.” And the empty streets of busy places represents visual proof that we are coming together to consider something on a larger scale. Something bigger than all of us. Giving Pause.


So that’s it.

Maybe our concept is chosen. Maybe not. But it felt pretty good to work on this, and to think about saving the world using the only real talent I have. It felt like I was doing something.

For the record, Sid and I have never met in person. We have known each other on Twitter for about a decade, but all this was done virtually without ever so much as picking up a phone to speak. What a world.

If you do share the work, they encourage you to tag @WHO @UN @UnitedNations and use the hashtags: #CovidOpenBrief #UNCovid19Brief and #Covid19




the men in the trees
Stay Home or Be Eaten

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.