Sesame Workshop is deploying its iconic gaggle of Sesame Street Muppets in new PSAs to teach children proactive ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Elmo’s new “Washy Wash” song updates the familiar “Brushy Brush” tune to spark discussions about hand-washing. In another spot an assortment of Sesame Street characters are shown proper health etiquette, such as washing up after touching toys.
Each lesson is punctured by a snippet of Hammer’s classic “You Can’t Touch This” song. In yet another clip, Grover learns how to sneeze and cough to avoid spreading germs.
These clips will be distributed through a wide range of partners in the U.S. and globally in 19 languages, including HBO, PBS KIDS and local PBS stations, Univision, the Ad Council, YouTube and others.
“One major consideration for these spots was to make them easily adaptable to different languages and cultural variations, since Sesame Workshop is a global brand,” says Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. social impact, Sesame Workshop. She notes that the music for Elmo’s Washy Washy was developed to last for 20 seconds since it is the recommended time for hand-washing.
“Our goal is that young children could easily learn and sing along with Elmo, making sure that every part of their hands are washed, including thumbs,” she explains.
“We connected remotely, edited virtually working across country teams, and using our puppeteers’ voices from around the world,” says Betancourt. “Every step of the way there was the typical Sesame Workshop rigor including careful review and input, coupled with incredible speed to get these spots out quickly, as we know they are needed.”
Sesame is publishing additional tools falling under the show’s broader “Caring For Each Other” initiative that includes coping strategies, child-friendly explanations to tough questions, and ways to help everyone stay healthy. All content is accessible via SesameStreet.org/caring. The show’s social channels will also regularly published messages about how to model good behavior.