Advertising industry tackles AstraZeneca hesitancy with ‘A to Z’ social media campaign

Originally shared on SmartCompany, 10.8.21

High profile members of the Australian advertising industry have teamed up to urge more Australians to get vaccinated by launching a creative campaign to counter concerns about the risks associated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

‘TheFactsination’ initiative was launched on Monday and centres around an Instagram account that features an A to Z list of “things more likely to kill you than the AZ”, comparing dying from the AstraZeneca vaccine with other possible causes of death.

One image compares the risk of dying from the vaccine, at one in 1 million, with the risk of dying from taking an Aspirin at one in 10,000 adult men, while another compares it to the risk of being killed by a lawnmower.

Source: @TheFactsination Instagram

While the AstraZeneca vaccine was initially not available to younger Australians, Australians aged under 40 can now choose to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine if they provide informed consent, including at mass vaccination centres in Victoria.

The launch of ‘TheFactsination’ campaign follows the publication of an open letter last week by leading Australian health experts, who encouraged more people to receive the vaccine as soon as possible. The letter said both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines have a similar ability to prevent severe disease from the Delta variant of COVID-19.

The campaign has been spearheaded by Dan Monheit, co-founder and director of strategy at Hardhat, who told SmartCompany the idea was born out of a sense of “frustration” at witnessing how continuing lockdowns were affecting Australians across the board — including the businesses and clients his agency works with — as well as the knowledge that the “only way to get to the other side of this is through vaccinations”.

“As an industry, we specialise in communications, we specialise in behavioural change, so what better what to channel those frustrations?” he says.

While the campaign was developed by members of the Hardhat team, Monheit says they deliberately did not launch the campaign as their own piece of work. Instead, it was important to reach out to a cross section of the industry and ask who wanted to get involved.

“The cause is much bigger than us,” he says.

Among those who said yes are Tribe co-founder Jules Lund; Rose Herceg, chief strategy officer at WPP AUNZ; Mutiny managing partner Henry Innis; Kieran Moore, director and principal at Brangwin & Moore Consulting; Akcelo chief executive Aden Hepburn; and Chris Savage from The Savage Company.

The campaign’s imagery was created by Good One Creative, and it will feature in a broader media publicity campaign that will target journalists, TV and radio hosts and influencers. It has already been picked up by multiple media outlets, and at the time of publication, the Instagram account had attracted more than 6000 followers.

Monheit says the response has been “breathtaking”.

“I think what we’ve tapped into here is a mass sense of frustration and just wanting to get on with it,” he says.

“I think people have appreciated the perspective we’ve been able to bring.”

Source: @TheFactsination Instagram

In a statement, Herceg said the campaign is an opportunity for the advertising industry to use its talent and influence to attack vaccine hesitancy that is due to misinformation.

“We need to help to put the risk into perspective,” she said. “There’s only one way out of this — and it’s together.”

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