Mission: Promote vaccination

Encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. This is the delicate and important task that in recent months has been entrusted to advertising designers from all over the world, who have multiplied ideas to achieve this goal. What is an effective approach to community advertising? Talk about it with the experts.

Katherine Handfield

Katherine Handfield

“Ginger cannot cure COVID, Derek! Take the vaccine.”

In a new ad campaign on social media, the Baltimore, Md. Department of Health plays humor and sarcasm to vaccinate people. And many are hesitant or delaying doing so in the United States: half of Americans have not received two doses.

  • Photo from the BMORE_HEALTHY ACCOUNT Instagram account

    “Ginger does not cure COVID, Derek!”

  • Photo from the BMORE_HEALTHY ACCOUNT Instagram account

    “Mimosas with the girls?” You still haven’t been vaccinated, Debra! ”

  • Photo from the BMORE_HEALTHY ACCOUNT Instagram account

    “Lettuce does not cure Covid, Connor.”

  • Photo from the BMORE_HEALTHY ACCOUNT Instagram account

    “Green tea does not cure Covid disease, tryna!”

1/ 4

The four posters, posted tens of thousands of times on Instagram this week, illustrate funny scenarios in which a vulnerable person is given a lecture by a loved one. “Mimosas with the girls?” You haven’t been vaccinated yet, Debra! ‘ He shoots a man visibly angry at his grouchy lover.

The humorous and ironic tone of this campaign deviates from what we’ve been used to seeing for a few months. In both North America and Europe, two major trends are emerging these days: ads that are fun to come back to life and ads that convey realistic messages from well-known and respected people. Here are some examples:

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It is distinguished from the rest

Richard Leclerc, a designer and director who specializes in community advertising, sees Baltimore humorous ads as a surprising way to target a much more specific group of people — unvaccinated youth — and are hard to find.

Photo provided by Richard Leclerc

Richard Locklear, designer and director specializing in social advertising

“If you do a very traditional advertisement, you will still talk to those who have already been vaccinated. So we should rush to find a way to get their attention,” said Richard Leclerc, a lecturer at the University of Montreal and Senghor University in Egypt. They retain only a tiny fraction of the advertising messages they are exposed to: “This should be the role of any good advertisement: to find a way to annoy, annoy, to the fullest.”

In Singapore, a disco music video ad featuring two local comedians went viral on social media:

Jacques Nantel, Professor Emeritus at HEC Montréal, asserts that humor is a double-edged sword in advertising.

Whatever the message – seat belts, smoking or a vaccine – studies always come to the same conclusions: When you use a strong message based on fear or humor, the shape of the message resonates most – people talk about it, especially on social networks, but the gist of the message goes through. Less. People remember the gag, but not the substance.” For scary ads, they can cause a closure effect, notes Jack Nantel.

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In Australia, the government aired a shocking ad this summer showing a close-up of a young woman taking oxygen as she suffered from shortness of breath. The ad was met with a fair amount of criticism in Australia.

Richard Leclerc adds, “Fear doesn’t work for everyone.” Young people are not afraid. With them, it is better to turn towards facts, towards humor, towards adapting reality using the networks they like. ”

facts first

What works well in social advertising?

Photo by David Boyle, press archives

Jacques Nantel, Professor Emeritus at HEC Montreal

“If your reward, as an advertiser, is a number like Or posts, go ahead with a message like this one from Baltimore. Jack Nantel replies, if you want to change behaviour, keep sending a sobering message.

Jack Nantel believes that young people who fear, for example, that a vaccine has been developed too quickly or is causing them side effects, will smile when they see Baltimore’s ads, “but that won’t convince them to go get vaccinated.”

In Quebec, an ad aired last spring and signed by Cossette Agency is part of the “All we can do again once vaccinate” trend. “This is a call to action, and it requires a more emotional approach,” notes the email, Marie-Yves Fillion, Public Affairs Adviser to the Executive Board Management and Treasury Board Secretariat.

“To play on a pair – you are vaccinated, you will be able to see your grandmother or go to a restaurant – it is not interesting in advertising, because it is very realistic,” thinks Jack Nantel.

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In the coming weeks, Richard Leclerc expects to see advertising messages aimed directly at young people, who remain the least immunized.

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