March Madness is underway, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll be high-fiving instead of face-palming. Either way, scrubbing your mitts becomes even more important to public health during this time of year to prevent springtime illnesses from spreading. We’ve heard it since preschool: Wash your hands to kill those germs.

Sometimes, listening skills peak in preschool. (I’m no exception — when has public opinion ever stopped me from putting a 12 seed in the Sweet Sixteen?) In a handwashing PSA video we developed for the Ingham County Health Department, nailing the correct tone of messaging was key to avoid finger-wagging and encourage maximum buy-in from the audience. 

More often than not, PSAs that use harsh language and fear tactics fall short. Extreme messaging is polarizing and causes people to immediately disengage, while relatability draws people in. Therefore, this project called for a funny tone with a familiar concept. 

Two sports announcers commentate as a man washes his hands. The humorous and slightly absurd premise brings levity to a monotonous message about a mundane task. Common sportscasting devices like zoom-ins and screen-markings highlight the finer points of handwashing, like cleaning under “those pesky fingernails.” And, of course, the timer reinforces the truth that a 20 second hand-wash is most effective.

We relish the opportunity to work with organizations like the Ingham County Health Department — folks with a mission-driven focus. Supporting those who protect and improve the wellbeing of our community is a duty we don’t take lightly, and we take pride in the work we produce together — something I certainly cannot say about my bracket.