As COVID-19 began to change life as we know it, and social distancing and self-isolation became the ‘new norm’, a digital ‘Teddy Bear Army’ with messages of thanks to essential service workers began popping up on billboards for children to spot throughout their local communities.
And what makes this Teddy Bear Army so special and so unique, is that it is created by the children themselves.
Set in motion by QMS Media, the Teddy Bear Army Project invites children across the country to draw a picture of a teddy bear with a message of thanks to their choice of essential service worker, and have their artwork displayed on digital billboards nationally.
Now in its sixth week, The Teddy Bear Army Project has given more than 150 Australian kids a chance to hone their artistic skills whilst at home, and an opportunity to express their thanks and gratitude to those doing so much to help us all through this crisis.
Each week, new submissions are broadcast across 30 premium digital billboards, and have impacted more than 15 million contacts or on average 2.6 million contacts each week as Australians travel closer to home.
QMS Media Chief Marketing Officer, Sara Lappage said that the engagement and response from the community has been overwhelming.
“As we saw Teddy Bear’s starting to appear in windows of homes, in trees and on footpaths in our local streets, we wanted to help build on this simple but thoughtful gesture, by giving children a voice and audience to say thank you to those working hard to help all Australian’s during these challenging times.
“The idea started as a way for our staff working from home to engage and entertain their kids, as well as giving them an opportunity to have their artwork displayed on a canvas much bigger than the kitchen fridge.
“Soon friends, clients and business partners had heard about the project and the rest is history. With the power and speed of our digital network, arguably the world’s biggest, and I have to say cutest, Teddy Bear Art show was within days broadcasting into local neighbourhoods across Australia.”
The Teddy Bear Army has captured the attention of local communities, businesses and organisations as it looks to focus on positive unity and show gratefulness to all essential service workers as well as providing children with an outlet to create, be seen and be memorable on a scale like never before.
Monash Health Theatre Nurse, Di Treagus said; “I was thrilled to see my grandson Lukas’ drawing up on billboard right near the hospital. The power of a personalised message of thanks on a giant billboard makes the jobs of those working so hard right now that much easier.”
Trent Cotchin, Captain of AFL’s Richmond Tigers added: “My wife and I fell in love with the idea the moment we saw some of the artworks up on a billboard near us. It gave our girls an opportunity to be creative whilst in isolation but more importantly, it was an opportunity for them to say thank you to who they see as important in our fight against COVID-19.
“As a parent this was a special moment. You love seeing your kids doing what they love” added Mr Cotchin.
The National Gallery of Victoria was quick to join forces with QMS and lend support with a call-out to their audiences to embrace their creative side and showcase children’s artworks and messages of thanks.
The Teddy Bear Army will continue to be seen across QMS’ digital billboard network as Australia starts to head back outside.
For children to still be involved, simply have them draw a picture of their Teddy on a white A4 sheet of paper, include their first name, age and brief thank you message to our essential service workers. Take a photo of the drawing and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
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