If you thought COVID-19 was nothing to be afraid of, think again.
The Province of Alberta recently launched a COVID-19 awareness campaign aimed at a younger demographic and it has doubled down on showing how terrifying COVID-19 can be.
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According to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw in a Friday press conference, the recently launched ad campaign was shot last month and aims to incorporate humour in an effort to gain the attention of those who may have tuned out the province’s more serious, fact-based ads.
“We looked at a variety of options, and as you know we have been working very hard as I’ve said over the past few months, to think about what option we might have to reach out to Albertans particularly in that 29- to 39-year-old age group, where we do see a large number of our cases,” she said.
“We know that Albertans in that age group are at the lowest personal risk of potentially having severe outcomes; however, they also unfortunately can spread the virus to others and be a part of that onward rising of the curve, and so we wanted to find an option that could effectively reach them.”
The ad campaign shows what can only be described as a person with a COVID-19 particle for a head — while sporting an extremely unsettling smile — enjoying parties, family gatherings, and Christmas dinner.
The campaign “COVID Loves” also has a website with canonical information about the fun-loving COVID character, who apparently loves life, “going to all the places, doing all the things, and spreading the fun to everyone,” the website states about the unworldly COVID being.
“Bring me to your next get-together, I’d love to meet your friends and family.”
The website also features a slideshow of people that COVID would love to meet, including terrifying notes on what COVID would do to each of those loved ones if it got the chance. Here are a few examples:
- Husbands: “You’ll only see the man of your dreams, in your dreams.”
- Granny: “She’s so small and sweet, I could just eat her up.”
- Grandpa: “Enjoy his war stories while you still can.”
- Dad: “I’ll take more than just a chip off the old block.”
- BFFs: “One less birthday to remember.”
- Mommies-to-be: “I’ve got serious pregnancy cravings.”
The website also has a COVID Loves Misinformation section that dispels some common misinformation about the virus, including the myths that you can get COVID from your dog, that oregano oil, apple cider vinegar, and crystals can ward off the virus, or that you can get COVID-19 through the mail.
“We felt that it was important to add an additional tool to communicate more effectively to groups who may have not been taking our message as seriously, and to use humour to help them take the message more seriously,” said Hinshaw.
Twitter, naturally, had a field day:
“Nobody loves a holiday gathering more than COVID”
Alberta has launched a new awareness video. Please note COVID brings a terrible dessert to dinner, thus adding to the overall message that the virus isn’t welcome. #COVID19AB #COVID19 #yeg https://t.co/Wxlk4XVrja pic.twitter.com/CzRY0y0xEN
— Rachelle Elsiufi (@CityRachelle) December 11, 2020
— Courtney Theriault (@cspotweet) December 11, 2020
Credit where credit is due. I think these ads & related website from the Alberta government are good. A bit of humour is an effective way to communicate, especially when apathy & tuning out traditional public health messaging has become a problem. https://t.co/MK6H74pk4R
— Laurie Livingstone (@theLLivingstone) December 11, 2020
The Alberta government’s new COVID ad is pure nightmare fuel. pic.twitter.com/DdN1G2U847
— Mel Woods 🌾🌈 (@intothemelwoods) December 11, 2020
Albertans will also be able to find a list of resources and guidelines on the website on how to keep the nightmare-inducing COVID creature out of your homes, including wearing a mask, avoiding travel, social distancing, avoiding social gatherings, avoiding travel, getting tested, and isolating when sick.
You’d better believe we’ll be doing everything in our power to keep that COVID-headed horror as far away from us as possible, and we’d suggest you do the same.