OVER TIME, A GROWING SEGMENT OF ALBERTANS WERE BECOMING IMMUNE TO PUBLIC HEALTH MESSAGING AND RESEARCH SHOWED THAT NINE MONTHS INTO THE PANDEMIC, WITH CASE NUMBERS RISING, COMPLIANCE WITH SAFE AND HEALTHY BEHAVIOURS WAS SLIPPING, AS WAS TRUST IN HEALTH-RELATED INFORMATION.
The majority of us don’t deliberately set out to the break the rules. However, nine months into an unrelenting pandemic, research was showing that fatigue and complacency were setting in. Public health messages were not always seen or trusted. We set out to create a culture of consistent compliance (norm change) and influence the behaviour of Albertans under 40 to stop attending and hosting public gatherings.
By personifying the Covid virus, we were able to hold a mirror up to show how the current behaviour of some younger Albertans was increasing community spread.
The strategy of this campaign was rooted in its context amongst all the other Covid-related communications the Government of Alberta had in-market during this time.
Once personified, the situations that Covid Loves became endless and the campaign extended into game nights, first dates, brunch and more. We then got to work personifying Covid – working with a local special effects company to create a Covid mask that was equally terrifying and approachable. The rest of the character was intentionally made to look like an ‘every person’ – dressed exactly like you or me.
We wanted to make the Covid guidelines and health information as accessible as the creative itself so we made the decision to develop a campaign-specific landing page (www.covidloves.ca) instead of sending our audience to alberta.ca.
As a behaviour change campaign, the ultimate result comes from the campaign’s ability to actually change behaviours.
According to recent Leger research, 52% of Canadians said they saw no one outside their immediate family this Christmas, which means 48% did see others outside their home, in contravention to public health advice. However, the percent NOT seeing anyone outside their home was highest in AB (68%); BC (61%) and MB/SK (58%). It was lowest in Atlantic Canada (27%) and ON (47%).