HSE's Covid-19 ad campaigns branded 'stale predictable and ineffective'

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THE HSE’s Covid-19 adverting campaigns have been branded as stale, predictable, and ineffective by a Government TD.

ine Gael’s Emer Higgins warned it’s “not tough enough and not cutting through”.

And she criticised efforts to reach young people when there have been just ten posts on the popular social media platform TikTok.

In contrast there were 1,300 posts on Twitter.

Ms Higgins said the online advertising budget was €150,000 and said: “has it been spent wisely? I don’t think so.”

She asked junior health minister Mary Bulter: “are we even trying?”

Ms Higgins said the message of washing hands and coughing into your elbow has become “stale, predictable, ineffective”.

She pointed to Scotland where their campaign shows how an asymptomatic woman accidentally infect her

grandfather with the virus depicted as a “green gunk” that transfers to him as she makes him a cup of tea. She said it closes with a stark warning: “Don’t pass coronavirus

to those who love.”

An Australian ad features a man who infected his mother who ends up in intensive care.

“Here in Ireland we’re reminding people of

Covid-19 is still a problem, and encouraging them to wear face masks and wash

their hands.”

“We can do better than that and we have done better than that,” Ms Higgins said.

She references the HSE’s successful anti-smoking campaign ‘Quit’ and

hard-hitting Road Safety Authority crack-downs on speeding and drink

driving.

She said the RSA know that content that “shocks and scares people” changes behaviour.

“We don’t like watching these ads. We all admit we hear the message loud and clear. Can that be said of our COVID-19 campaign?

“Or months on is it white noise to us?”

She said it’s time to “up our game” and people need to be hit with the right message as the country prepares to ease restrictions – “remain Covid safe so we can save lives”.

Ms Butler said Ms Higgins raised valid questions but also defended the public health authorities’ campaigns.

She said Covid fatigue has set in but Covid-19 is still highly infectious

and the best defence in the absence of a vaccine is adherence to the

public health advice as outlined in the advertising campaigns.

Ms Butler said ads like those linked to the Covid Tracker App and the

‘Hold Firm’ campaign were supported by regular opinion polling.

She also said the Government is developing a communications campaign “to

inspire and empower young adults to live safely in the public health

guidelines.”

Ms Butler said she would take Ms Higgins’ points on board and bring them

to the advertising sections of the Department of Health and the HSE.

Online Editors

Source: Irish News