The #GoViralToStopTheVirus campaign reaches 61 countries around the world

The campaign comprises positive viral creatives from almost 19 agencies like Ogilvy & Mather, Wunderman Thompson, Publicis, 82.5 Communications, R K Swamy BBDO, Rediffusion Y&R, and SOS Ideas

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Jul 24, 2020 5:16 PM  | 5 min read

The hugely successful online campaign #GoViralToStopTheVirus began in India in April 2020 among the advertising fraternity of Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.

Uttaran Chaudhuri, an advertising copywriter and the creator of the initiative explains how it all began. ‘The idea was very simple. As creative people, we decided to take the unique shape of the deadly coronavirus and turn it on its head, by creating beautiful and positive art out of it.’

The campaign is one-of-a-kind, as it is not owned by any agency or brand. As it began, positive viral creatives were created by advertising professionals from almost 19 agencies like Ogilvy & Mather, Wunderman Thompson, Publicis, 82.5 Communications, R K Swamy BBDO, Rediffusion Y&R, and SOS Ideas to name a few.

The National Creative Director of Publicis, Basabjit Tito Majumdar, stated, ‘The beauty of the idea lies in its simplicity. The scope of creativity is endless.’

Mayur Varma, ECD, 82.5 Communications commented ‘It is lovely to see the advertising community come together and spread awareness. Usually fiercely competitive, this is one rare occasion when we have shown that we are one against the virus.’  

Every piece of communication aimed to reach common people around the world and suggested positive activities they can do during the lockdown. The shape of the virus has been used till date in over thousands of ways to suggest messages like make sharing go viral, make kindness go viral, make art go viral and many more positive messages.

One enthusiast even created a communication suggesting make Indian advertising go viral with a fan art of Piyush Pandey, and the shape of the virus placed strategically on the twirl of his iconic moustache.

The campaign also saw a huge participation from artists and art students. Legendary award winning senior artists of India like Jogen Chowdhury, Sanatan Dinda, Subhaprasanna, Pradip Rakshit, Sameer Aich, Subrata Gangopadhyay, Mukesh Sharma, Gopal Roy, Kandan G Mangalore, Bappa Bhowmick, Gautam Mukherjee, Partha Dasgupta, Asim Paul, Kedaram Vishwanathan and countless young promising artists like Victor Hazra, Gopa Roy, Dimpi Kundu, Suvajit Mandal and the national-award winner Jyotirmoy Dalapati were invited collaborators of the initiative.  

After the first phase of the campaign, the artists were requested to gift the shape of the virus the bliss of abstraction. In this second phase, the shape of the virus was broken down into countless creative expressions. 

It was then that the campaign started reaching the rest of the world.

World-famous artists like Pitika Ntuli from South Africa, Icelandic artist Jóhann S Vilhjálmsson, Latin American surrealist Geracho Arias, the Italian legend Alfredo Granata, Gusti Wis from Indonesia are among the artists from across 61 countries in the world who took part in #GoViralToStopTheVirus, spreading messages of hope and optimism. 

Over 110 musicians like the legendary Eugene Skeef, FRSA, Tatsuya Okabayashi from Japan, Mahamadou Tounkara from Mali, the celebrated ghatam player Vaidyanathan Suresh from the Drums of the World, the world-famous jazz musician Eddie Parker from the UK, renowned Blues musician Eddie Blues Barney, Native American musician and activist Dan Nanamkin, Polish musicians Witek Kulczycki and Lucjan Wesolowski, Rajasthani folk vocalist Bhungar Khan and noted German Didgeridoo player Marvin Dillman, music-director Prabuddha Banerjee from India are among many others who have contributed to the cause by translating the shape of the coronavirus into musical recitals. Musicians played the blues harmonica, the sitar, the sarod, the Oud, the flute, the African talking drum, the Kora and Kanjeera, the Santoor, the Mongolian Batoukan the Brazilian Berimbau and countless other instruments.


Among many, social activists like the Nobel Peace Prize Winner Kailash Satyarthi, the South African poet, musician and activist Eugene Skeef, FRSA, the Italian 'Poet of the nation' Emilia Fragomeni, the poet Sankha Ghosh, poet and songwriter Srijato, the Japanese artist Masami Hayasaki contributed hand-written poems for the initiative.

Film Director Anindya Chatterjee, singer-songwriter Anupam Roy, Bodhisatwa Dasgupta of the Voice Company, Hungarian artist Eszter Lancos are notable names among hundreds of people who wrote 19-word stories against COVID 19. Photographers like Satyaki Ghosh, Sanjib Ghosh, Hajime Araki, Mokhles Bakkali and Suprotik Chatterjee contributed to the initiative.

Children and common men and women contributed many thousands of pieces of art, photographs and stories. Among other forms of art, installations, sculptures, motion-posters, stop-motion films, leaf-art, illustration, calligraphy, typography, craft and animated videos were created by the multitude. 

When asked what the aim of the campaign was, Uttaran said, “This movement aims to empower and connect the creative fraternity across the world and alleviate the sense of dread and anxiety associated with the pandemic by focussing on creativity.

The bigger aim is to stop the virus from being a symbol of dread and to translate it into a symbol of hope.”

As the campaign keeps spreading its wings, the first offline World-exhibition of advertising and art of #GoViralToStopTheVirus begins at the ArtReach Gallery, Portland, Oregon, many other collaborators from across the globe join in. As Koustuv Chatterjee, ex-Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather and Mccann World Group puts it, “What I loved about #GoViralToStopTheVirus is how it evolved from a brief-led communication challenge to a free-flowing global art movement. To me, it reflects the spirit of human resilience expressed through creativity.”

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