The first #DearCoronavirus video went live on social media platforms around the world on March 19, 2020. Initially produced by the Inter-European Division and Trans-European Division communication departments in cooperation with Hope Media Europe, the videos [watch them below] ultimately became a collaborative series of 12 inspirational and poignant messages on a wide variety of COVID-19 relevant topics, with participants from more than 40 countries and several world divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, including Inter-American Division, South American Division, North American Division, Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, and Southern-Asia Pacific Division.
The innovative series has been shown, and adapted and shared, in more than 65 countries. The video clips have been translated in at least 35 languages, including the large language groups of English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, French, and more, but also into less mainstream languages such as Estonian, Esperanto, Thai, Icelandic, Greek, and more.
According to Adrian Dure, coordinator for network projects for Hope Media Europe (the Adventist Church’s European media center located in Germany), “The campaign was very well accepted and adapted in all continents as a simple, creative, and innovative response to the crisis.”
In an interview with Adventist News Network, Dure explained that the #DearCoronavirus video was “the result of a first meeting we had together with members and also colleagues from Europe — we were just starting think about the future and strategies about communication and media [with] media centers here in Europe. And I remember one specific moment of this meeting we had together when one of our colleagues said, ‘We need to react right now. This crisis situation is already there. What are we going to do now?’”
Shortly after this meeting Dure couldn’t sleep and started thinking what he’d like to say to COVID-19. Dure wondered, What about if we, the humanity and the human beings, reflect and we try to imagine what [it would be like] to be face to face with the coronavirus; and we develop a message for [it]?
Dure did some research and didn’t find messaging that utilized "Dear Coronavirus,” and thought, Let's do that.
The video series idea grew from there, and soon more communicators partnered with the Hope Media/Europe group, sharing the video on their social media platforms and collaborating on creating the weekly videos.
NAD Communication associate director Julio Muñoz recalled the moment Dure shared the video idea. “When Adrian approached me with the idea of the #dearcoronavirus project and the international collaboration, I was very excited,” Muñoz said. “All of our productions had shut down due to the pandemic. The innovative, collaborative approach taken to produce a weekly viral video, in a time when people needed something positive, was inspiring to the production team and really connected with an audience around the world.”
An added benefit, said Muñoz, is creating a stronger network among Adventist professionals worldwide. “While we had been partnering with Hope Media Europe and other divisions on several endeavors, including the upcoming “Uncertainty,” a major multi-media, multi-platform project, this series of videos helped bring us creative communicators together — and future collaborations will benefit from the relationships grown during work on ‘Dear Coronavirus,’” Muñoz disclosed.
From writing the scripts, to coordinating the video procurement, to editing the videos and more, the project blossomed into a team effort with Adventist communicators from around the globe.
Topics addressed include coronavirus, grandparents, recovery, isolation, loneliness, message to medical workers, loss/comfort, essential workers, Mother’s Day, anxiety, racism, and resilience. Each week a different video was released with the final video debuting on June 5.
“Many people need to find peace. They need to find hope. And then, [we] are opening the door to them to find Jesus. That's my prayer. And we believe that this situation is opening the hearts of many people,” said Dure. “With these videos, it's our wish and also our prayer to bring peace and hope to humanity.”
A Closer Look
Each video repeats certain key words for emphasis. The average length of the videos is 3 minutes, and different world regions have been able to use their own language to communicate the messages that are already spoken in a variety of languages in the video clips. The script from the first video, which addresses how the virus attacks a person’s body and mind, reads like this (minus some of the repetitive wording):
“A few months ago I didn’t even know you existed. But you came to make war with us. Yes, we are in a war against something unknown. And that fills me with uncertainty. We know that your army is very large. You are everywhere. We can’t see you but we know that you have many millions of soldiers. You are depriving us of liberty. You are depriving us of hugging, of kissing, and sharing love. You attacked me with your allies. Panic. Confusion. Fear. And worst of all you annihilated some of my soldiers. You killed them.
“Dear Corona, let me tell you something. You haven’t defeated us. Our army will become strong. Why? Because I have faith. And I have the weapons to face you with. Respect for others. For my neighbor, for my colleagues, my friends, for the weakest. I will stay home. I won’t open the door for you. I won’t go looking for you. And if I have to go to the battlefield … to look for food, to help the one who really needs it, to save the lives of my soldiers, I will do it very carefully. Only when necessary. In the meantime, I will enjoy my family at home, quality time that I’ve been missing. I will eat healthfully. I will manage to exercise. I will try to sleep well. And I will trust in the responsibility and solidarity of humanity. I will trust in the government. I will trust in the doctors and nurses. Our heroes. And [I will trust] in God even if it does not really seem He is in control. He is in control. Yes, Dear Coronavirus, God is in control. He is in control. He is in control.”
The third video features Pedro Torres, communication director of the Franco-Belgian Union, who is also a survivor of COVID-19. Along with six others, he chose to speak out about his battle, his faith and his hope as a “virus victim” in the third video.
The final video shows no faces, and no voices are to be heard. Somber music starts with written words stretching across video of empty places — homes, offices, places of worship — that music swells to be more uplifting at the finish. These are the words to the final episode of the series:
“You left emptiness in the lives of millions of people since you arrived. You showed us no love. No values. [You left] many of us with no future. No community. [You] showed us the vulnerability of the most powerful. Millions of people view life today with no hope; only a life full of fears. Full of uncertainty. There is nothing more to say about you — only that you came to change our world. But we are the ones who changed. We found hope in love for humanity. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13, NIV). #faithhopelove”