BMF will be launching a major advertising campaign in July encouraging people under 40 to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, the campaign will run across both social and traditional media, and include “celebrities, jokes, and songs to emotionally entice younger Australians to get a jab.”
The current vaccine campaign has been criticised by both experts and the public for being unengaging.
Particularly when compared to high energy efforts like Singapore’s high-energy ‘Steady Pom Pi Pi’ campaign or the UK’s star-studded campaign featuring Elton John and Michael Cain, the factual focus of Australia’s ad is a distinctive choice.
Opposition health spokesman Mark Butler criticised the current campaign, saying, “Australia has a proud history of strong public health campaigns, but when it has come to the vaccine rollout for COVID-19, the government is dangerously flat-footed.”
However, the government has defended the current campaign in its appeal to over-50s, with a spokesperson for Health Secretary Greg Hunt telling the Herald Sun that, “new advertisements started in early May to align with the expansion of the program, informing people aged 50 years and over that they can receive the vaccine.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked recently if the vaccine ad spend should be doubled from $40 million to $80 million, a suggestion he shrugged off. He said there was no point spending more money on the campaign until under 40s could get vaccinated.
“We are talking to those who are eligible for the vaccine at the moment, which is over-50s and particularly those who are over 70,” Morrison said.
The plans for BMF’s ad campaign seem to suggest a change in tone for the vaccine campaign, particularly the references to humour and celebrities. Australians could see a campaign modelled more after the successful Singaporean and British versions.
This need for a successful vaccine campaign has been brought into particular focus by the most recent outbreak in, and lockdown of, Melbourne.
Indeed, a survey by the Sydney Morning Herald found that 14 per cent of Australian adults surveyed said they were “not at all likely” to get vaccinated and 14 per cent were “not very likely” to get vaccinated in the coming months.
Whether the BMF campaign in July will coincide with increased vaccine access to those under 40, or whether it will simply be encouraging vaccinations when they are available in the future, is as yet unclear.
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