Ronn TorossianRonn Torossian

Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been a prominent figure in the nation’s response to the virus. Now, a group of Hollywood actors is joining forces with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, to help him get the word out through the #PasstheMic campaign.

The campaign is calling for a “global response to COVID-19 that protects the most vulnerable, supports people worst hit economically, strengthens health systems and creates a more just and equal world …” The campaign is part of a larger effort called ONE World, which has taken on the mission to end extreme poverty and preventable disease.

Celebrities who’ve since added their voices to the campaign include Hugh Jackman, Rita Wilson, Robin Wright, Rainn Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Julia Roberts and Shailene Woodley, as well as other prominent names in entertainment media and healthcare. As part of the effort, some of these prominent personalities will invite health care workers, economic experts and others to join them on their social media platforms with the intention of instigating healthy sharing of information through their platforms.

As an example, Roberts has opened her social media accounts to Dr. Fauci to speak about these issues and promote the campaign. He’ll be able to interact with concerned, curious or critical fans in real time, offering unfiltered information and direct analysis. Others hope to offer suggestions for solutions and to ask users to join them in making small choices that could make a difference.

Building on the idea that fans are going to listen to the celebrities they respect and appreciate, pushing the message through these platforms should prove to be an effective megaphone for what’s intended to be a global education effort. People are connected with these platforms and invested in the celebrities, so going through them to help get the word out effectively amplifies that message.

The expansive power of this campaign illustrates the effectiveness of influencer marketing. In this case, it’s not even the stars that are giving the power, it’s their platform. That’s the key consideration for any brand interested in employing an influencer. Not only “how many followers” do they have, but also “who are those followers and what is the platform?”

There’s no doubt that numbers matter, in general, but targeted marketing can be incredibly effective if that message is sent through the right channels to the correct market. Influencers not only help magnify that message, their established platforms also help accurately guide the message on target. For this campaign, a global information effort, going with professional communicators like actors with massive global influence is the right call. For a more local or specific message meant for a niche cohort, a more targeted influencer platform can deliver tremendous benefits.


Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, which has been named PR Agency of the Year by the American Business Awards.