Advertising’s job, most times, is to present visions of a future where a person can obtain something desirable (convenience, self-esteem, admiration, sexual attractiveness) by buying something. In the case of the Covid vaccines, strangely, the world is having to call on the tools of advertising to convince people to obtain something that’s absolutely free and is capable not only of restoring the world to pre-pandemic normality but also protecting their very lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Ad Nut will never understand why many humans need to be persuaded about this. Seems like a no-brainer, even to a small-brained woodland creature like Ad Nut.
Nonetheless, people need convincing. And except for a minority—which appears, ironically, to be immune to scientific evidence, logic, appeals to human decency and even the desire for self-preservation—most vaccine-hesitant people are amenable to persuasion. So today we have two examples of entities using advertising to present visions of a better, post-pandemic future. Interestingly, and in accord with behavioural science, both attempt to convince through enticement rather than scare tactics.
The first and more impressive effort is from the government of New Zealand, along with Clemenger BBDO Wellington. The campaign includes the fun film below. Ad Nut advises that you may need a person who’s an expert in New Zealand culture, language and slang to fully interpret it, but that’s as it should be. And the message is clear in any case: People can tell Covid to get lost if they get vaccinated. “We wanted to make sure we reflected the true character that New Zealanders have displayed over the past year, and look to our future possibilities with the same optimistic attitude,” says the film’s director, Mark Albiston of Sweetshop.
The campaign also includes the rich illustrations shown in the gallery above, which come from New Zealand artists who were simply asked to depict things they were looking forward to doing again. The artists are Ant Sang, Jem Yoshioka, Māori Mermaid (Jessica Thompson Carr), Michel Mulipola, Miriama Grace-Smith, Ross Murray, Ruby Jones, Tai Nimo and Zak Murray.
“They paint a vibrant picture of Aotearoa,” says the campaign’s creative director, Mark Dalton. “A life full of connection, love and hope for the future.”
The second campaign comes from IPG Mediabrands agency Reprise Digital and Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC), the sole distributor of Ford in Malaysia. This one doesn’t even mention getting vaccinated, but since herd immunity is really the only path out of this mess, Ad Nut is going to assume the ad’s creators had vaccinations in mind as an unspoken call to action. Right?
One version of the ad cuts off when the Ford logo first appears. The extended version below tacks on an explicit call to book a digital meeting with a sales rep to talk about a new pickup truck. Ad Nut wishes the campaign had found time to explicitly ask people to get their jabs before going 4×4 shopping, but still, the vision of a free future is effectively rendered.