This Campaign Encourages Filipinos to Follow More Vigilant Practices Amidst COVID-19

Design industry leaders including the Design Advisory Council and the Design Center of the Philippines, led by the Communication Design Association of the Philippines (CDAP) are working together to bring forth PAALALABAS, a comprehensive campaign targeted to encourage Filipinos to practice more vigilant health and safety practices amid rising COVID-19 concerns.

PAALALABAS, a combination of the words paalala (reminder) and labas (to go out), is a campaign that utilizes human-centered design to create effective communications for Filipinos. PAALALABAS utilizes the nudge theory which uses “positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as ways to influence behavior and decision making”. In a study published by RN/Psychologist Maria Lourdes de Vera (2017), the use of positive reinforcement can create an effective social learning experience. The study, published in the London Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy, also cited that if positive reinforcement is integrated with the creative approach, it could enhance social interaction and participation.

The constantly evolving pandemic conditions have affected the way we interact with one another, as well as the way we move through public spaces. One way by which design can help us navigate the pandemic labyrinth is through the creation of a system of design that can communicate this new etiquette, to encourage and constantly remind individuals and local communities of mindful and safe behaviors against the virus.

These behaviors become more crucial as we begin to expand the opening of our economy to spur our recovery, acknowledging that the current health crisis has heavily impacted people’s livelihoods and businesses, particularly those of the micro, small and medium enterprises. Our road to economic recovery must always find a balance with keeping our nation safe and protected.

The PAALALABAS campaign offers a design solution to this wicked problem by designing visual cues coupled with communication taglines that will help influence and encourage new behavior. To develop the concept, design thinking was applied to get to the heart of the problem and approach it from the point of view of the grassroots community, the essential workers who must go out, and how this initiative can resonate with them and encourage healthy behavior.

The team took into consideration that most Filipinos are experiencing COVID-19 fatigue and a PAALALABAS nudge could be the key to break through this fatigue and to nudge people towards new etiquette and safe behavior.

“We fully understood that we were faced with the big challenge of COVID fatigue. Therefore, we knew this campaign should have the ability to pierce through this fatigue and resonate with our target audience. We strongly believe that PAALALABAS has this ability because it has a very Filipino character of creative wordplay coupled with a very simple visual language and iconography,” says Rhea O. Matute, Executive Director of the Design Center of the Philippines.

The campaign’s main call to action is mag-mask, mag-distancing, magtulungan, which leverages indirect suggestions to empower people to act, rather than compel them to follow rules. It puts first and foremost the articulation of our ‘why’, to remind people that we need to look out for one another in order to beat the virus.

The team also highlighted that the PAALALABAS campaign wants to put emphasis on magtulungan, to remind everyone that even during difficult situations such as what we are experiencing right now, we are still part of a community that relies on each other and looks out for each other.

The campaign is also a means for designers to come together and fight off the risks of COVID- 19 by developing research-based campaigns that are human-centered.

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