The Rockefeller Foundation & Dr. Paul Romer

Generating Support To Responsibly Reopen America

Supporting Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Paul Romer's efforts to advocate for a nationwide testing plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Campaign Communications
Strategic Counsel
Media Monitoring
Rapid Response
Third-Party Management
Media Relations
Branding & Creative
Dr. Paul Romer / The Rockefeller Foundation

Soon after many US states imposed lockdowns to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus in March 2020, it became clear that the economic damage caused by these lockdowns made them an unsustainable long-term solution to the pandemic. In order to build support for a national testing strategy that could have allowed for a responsible reopening of the American economy, The Rockefeller Foundation and Nobel-Prize-winning economist Paul Romer retained HPS to support Dr. Romer’s efforts to educate and engage with the media, state federal policymakers, and businesses leaders

Our Approach
Report Writing & Design
Print Advertising Production
Animated Content Production

HPS worked with Dr. Romer and his team to develop the white paper laying out his nationwide testing plan, craft op-eds and messaging surrounding in support of nationwide testing, secure interviews on multiple agenda-setting news programs, and establish direct relationships with policymakers. This included:

  • Research and creative support: HPS worked with Dr. Romer to draft and publish the Roadmap To Responsibly Reopen America, by conducting a deep dive into the US’s existing testing capacity, drafting sections of the report, and leveraging in-house creative expertise to make the report as engaging as possible.
  • Message development and media training: HPS converted key themes from the Roadmap into highly digestible, comprehensive messages on the need to expand COVID-19 testing nationwide. HPS then worked with Dr. Romer to on media engagement best-practices to maximize the engagement value of media appearances.
  • Media engagement: HPS engaged dozens of reporters and producers, securing Dr. Romer interviews, mentions, and op-ed placements in both national and regional publications, as well as appearances on nationally- and internationally-broadcast television and radio programs.
  • Constant contact campaign: HPS used email campaigns to develop a steady cadence of messaging that consistently reached a carefully curated audience of policymakers, media, and academics.
  • Policymaker And Business Leader Engagement: HPS engaged both Congressional leaders and rank-and file members, governors, a presidential campaign, and the CEOs of major US companies to create direct channels between Dr. Romer and decision-makers, generating buy-in from national leaders on the need to expand nationwide COVID-19 testing capacity.

The Roadmap and subsequent campaign generated support for increasing COVID-19 testing from issue experts, thought leaders, and eventually policymakers. Highlights from the campaign include:

  • Secured 93 media hits in seven weeks, including live television interviews on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, CNN’s The Lead With Jake Tapper, FOX Business’ Varney & Company, and print mentions in outlets including the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today.
  • Generated interest from close to 40 congressional and gubernatorial offices, secured briefings from Dr. Romer to members of Congress, presidential campaign staff, and CEOs.
  • Sustained amplification of Paul’s plan via op-ed co-signed with two members of Congress, email blasts to key audiences, and research support.
  • Secured an invitation for Dr. Romer by a national newspaper’s DC Bureau chief to speak directly with CEO-level business leaders on pandemic-related economic developments.
  • Generated support for increased federal support for COVID-19 testing from leaders of both political parties.