The federal government’s latest attempts to get the nation vaccinated via a new PSA has been slammed for being, among other things, boring, unemotional and neglectful of Australia’s multicultural community.
The campaign, called “Arm Yourself”, includes TV, radio, print and online iterations and shows everyday Aussies displaying BAND AIDS on their arms after receiving a vaccination and will variously urge people to “arm yourself”, “arm your community”, “arm your family”, “arm your family” and even to “arm your gran”.
It’s been reported the media spend for the campaign is around the $40-million mark. While, in a tender document seen by B&T, the creative agency was paid $1.8 million for its services.
At its request, B&T has decided not to name the agency responsible for the campaign.
And it was opposition leader Anthony Albanese who led the chorus of complaints about the ad. Although, arguably, it was as much political mileage as it was advertising critique.
Albanese telling the ABC’s Sunday morning current affairs program Insiders: “What we need is taking the expertise Australia has always done so well. We were the best in the world in the campaign against Aids, we’ve done drink-driving very well, but after 18 months if this is the best they can do, they need to go back to the drawing board.”
He also called Scott Morrison “the advertising guy” before adding: “This is a government that has spent [a lot of dollars] advertising itself, telling Australians how good it is. Maybe they should translate some of that advertising into this.”
There had also been criticism on social media that the “arm” pun only made sense if you spoke English and was tone deaf to anyone who spoke another language.
However, the claim has been rejected by government officials who said the campaign would roll out in 36 languages and be revised again by the end of the year.
Commenting on the latest ad, University of Sydney Business School, Associate Professor Tom van Laer, rated the new work a five out of 10.
“The new campaign is a step in the right direction, but it misses the secret (and essential) ingredient, motivation,” the Professor said in a statement to B&T.
“Research tells us that metaphors like #ArmYourself do increase trust in available vaccines but they fail on that crucial second ingredient of motivation.
“Given the confusing mixed messages from some authorities around use of the AstraZeneca jab for under 60s, the calls to action should be targeted at appropriate age groups as per the rollout plan. This means under 40-year-olds may be urged to ‘Register your interest’ rather than ‘Book your vaccination’, which would be more appropriate for those over 40.
“The fact of the matter is these sorts of fear-based campaigns only work when there’s the fear depicted is moderate, an action is recommended that clearly stops the threat and people are convinced they can take that action accordingly.
“Since the third ingredient is missing for under 40-year-olds, they are likely to fall into a circle of denial that COVID-19 could even affect them,” he said.
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