Dr Nick Coatsworth Talks Adland’s Role in Spreading Information During The Pandemic

Dr Nick Coatsworth Talks Adland’s Role in Spreading Information During The Pandemic

Dr Nick Coatsworth has become a face Australians associate with the pandemic and he took the Cannes in cairns stage to talk about the last few years and his foray into advertising.

He was the doctor on the telly giving hot takes and starred in the ads urging you to get the jab.

Today he graced the stage to talk about adland’s role in spreading vital information during a global pandemic.

Coatsworth has spent the last few years learning how to connect and educate the public without scaring them. He stepped out of the hospital and onto our TV screens, trying to cut through misinformation.

He was involved in three campaigns in total. The first was a simple instructive piece, reminding people to wash their hands and socially distance themselves. The second and third were more complicated; they were about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The second campaign was a serious piece of advertising with doctors delivering facts about vaccines. It was stark, dry – and let’s face it, a little dull – but Dr Coatsworth feels it was also what the public needed.

“The reason we wanted to stay serious was that the media and marketing research was telling us people feared covid, but they were also scared of the vaccine,” Coatsworth explained.

“The majority of Australians were worried about the pace this vaccine had produced. So, we didn’t go with flamboyant. We went straight for rigid and stared straight to the camera.”

So, why didn’t they jazz up the commercial? Perhaps add some colour, or jokes and go down the relatable quirky route, that’s on trend? Well, for Coatsworth, the answer is simple; “The people that were thinking about not getting the vaccine needed reassurance. They didn’t need to be sold on something, they needed to be informed.”

Interestingly, that doesn’t mean the message needed to stay the same throughout the pandemic. By the time the Delta wave hit, health experts needed to make the message feel less serious and more approachable.

Coatsworth explained: “We needed to finesse our message; people wanted something more casual. We went to a café in Canberra.”

“I think it was a 40-million-dollar advertising campaign and when it launched it was everywhere overnight.”

So, what has Coatsworth learned from the whole experience? Well, when it comes to public health issues, finding the balance between using fear without overplaying the fear card is the secret and Coatsworth seems to have found that balance with over 90 per cent of Australians now jabbed.




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Dr Nick Coatsworth

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