In this guest post, Noah Shaberman (main photo), content editor at Daresay, sister agency to The Works, looks at the pros and cons for brands that want to offer incentives for customers to get vaccinated…
In a bid to increase Australia’s vaccination rates, the Federal Government has given businesses the green light to offer and advertise vaccine incentives to the public.
At first glance, it’s an obvious boon for brands. What better way to attract new customers, generate positive press and help fight COVID-19 than to encourage vaccination through rewards?
In the US, where the Biden administration endorsed a similar scheme, businesses were quick to participate. Krispy Kreme offered free donuts, Anheuser-Busch gave away beer and the NFL handed out 50 tickets to Super Bowl LVI.
Here in Australia, businesses are starting to take advantage of the new rules. Melbourne Airport, for instance, launched a competition to give away $10,000 in cash to spend on travel each month to participants who get the jab. Within just 10 minutes of going live, the initiative had already received 100 applications from eager entrants.
Clearly, there are benefits. But just because brands can get involved, it doesn’t mean they should. The risks and ramifications should be carefully considered before organisations dive in.
First things first, you’ll need to know the rules or risk punishment. Take, for instance, the case of Port Melbourne publican Tom Streater whose pub had agreed to offer up free pints to anyone who could prove they had been vaccinated before being swiftly ordered to stop by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
At the time, the rules stated that businesses could not offer alcohol, tobacco or medicines as incentives for the jab; something that Streater had overlooked. And while the TGA has since backflipped on its alcohol ruling (subject to a new range of conditions), other brands may not be so lucky – especially if they’ve spent considerable time and money advertising their incentive.
Figuring out how to verify a customer’s vaccination status poses yet another practical challenge. Requiring customers to show their digital vaccine certificate – which is automatically made available online to anyone who’s had both jabs – is an obvious solution for bricks-and-mortar businesses. But the process is less clear for brands that operate online, and any transfer of data over the internet is bound to cause privacy concerns.
Allaying privacy fears
It’s no secret that data security is a key concern for consumers. Over the past several years, we’ve witnessed a spate of high profile incidents, from the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, to breaches affecting the big four banks. For brands that need to collect data in order to verify a customer’s vaccination status, providing privacy assurances could be crucial – which may mean a fight on two fronts.
Firstly, some consumers will want reassurance that the government’s data stores are secure. And while it insists that they are, people may have doubts given the problems that plagued its COVIDSafe contact tracing app. Secondly, customers will want to know how the business they’re dealing with collects, handles and stores their data.
Authenticity is key
Before rolling out ads and incentives, brands must think hard about where they stand and be willing to act with conviction when that standing is questioned. Failure to do so could lead to embarrassing backtracks and permanent reputational damage – a fate that’s already befallen Stomping Ground Brewery Co.
The popular venue in Melbourne launched ‘Shot for a Pot’, an initiative designed to reward patrons with a free beer at its Great Australasian Beer festival upon showing proof of vaccination. But just hours after it was announced on social media, the promotion was cancelled amidst criticism from vocal vaccine skeptics, alienating those who were initially in favour of the initiative.
Brands must also be wary of ‘vaccine washing’: spouting pro-vaccination incentives while making little or no effort to practice what they preach. Any incentives perceived as hollow attempts to hop aboard the vaccination bandwagon will be called out quickly by the public. At the same time, though, brands shouldn’t push too hard in the opposite direction. Coming across as coercive is likely to elicit similarly negative responses.
Weighing the risks
By offering incentives for vaccination, brands can make a meaningful contribution towards ending lockdowns and attract potential new business at the same time. If they get it right.
Any decision to get involved requires careful deliberation, a solid understanding of what to say and how to say it, and whether or not you should speak in the first place. Even then, success isn’t guaranteed.
Australian owned and operated email and SMS marketing software company, Vision6, announced the launch of its first-ever national brand campaign and new brand platform “Simply Reliable”. Founded in 2001, Vision6 was one of the first email marketing software providers in Australia and has since been relied upon by thousands of Aussie businesses and organisations for […]
Out-of-Home media company JCDecaux New Zealand has appointed business growth specialist Adam McGregor in preparation for its bid to win upcoming local government street furniture tenders across the country. With contracts for the provision of street furniture including bus shelters across New Zealand up for renewal from late 2022, they collectively represent the biggest advertising […]
Fetch TV has announced that ABC iview will soon be available as a dedicated Virtual Playlist Channel on the Fetch platform. Virtual Playlist Channels (VPCs) were developed by Fetch to promote content discovery, and to provide a clear bridge between the traditional world of linear TV and the growing availability of on demand content via […]
Jackie Gillies, businesswoman, psychic medium and cast member of The Real Housewives of Melbourne is bringing her sassy, inspirational and adventurous spirit to her new podcast Shine It Up, With Jackie Gillies, which launches today via Acast. Hosted and distributed by the creator-first podcast company Acast, the show will offer listeners inspiration and motivation to […]
Crowdsourcing platforms DesignCrowd and BrandCrowd are promoting vaccination efforts in a unique way, launching a logo redesign contest among their networks of designers. The initiative saw iconic Australian brands such as Hungry Jack’s, Jetstar, JB Hi-Fi, and Bunnings undergo a redesign. “We thought it would be fun to see some other iconic Australian brands back […]
Jillian Davison has been named editor-in-chief of the recently relaunched Harper’s BAZAAR Australia. She will oversee all content, development and creative direction across the iconic magazine’s digital and brand platforms. Davison (pictured) succeeds Eugenie Kelly, who recently stepped down to pursue other opportunities. The announcement was made by Maureen Jordan, publisher of Harper’s BAZAAR Australia […]
Freedom Foods and 72andSunny Sydney have launched the first advertising campaign for Australia’s Own range of plant-based beverages. The campaign introduces a new visual world and identity for the brand and captures the healthy, positive feeling you get when spending time in nature and when consuming Australia’s Own certified-organic, plant-based beverages. As well as featuring […]