So far, more than 4 million vaccines have been administered across the country and 500,000 Australians have been fully vaccinated. The majority of Australians are expected to get vaccinated in the second half of the year, with the rollout opening up to all adults.
The bulk of the federal government’s $40 million budget for COVID-19 vaccine advertising will be focused on the campaign that will run from July, which will ramp up in the second half of the year, with advertising distribution linked to the supply of vaccines. The funding includes $1.3 million to target culturally and linguistically diverse communities in their own language.
Dr Kaufman said the new campaign should take into account several factors, including simplifying the booking process, with an exclusive recent story for The Sydney Morning Herald and age finding that 14% of people are “not at all likely” and 15% “unlikely” to sign up for vaccines in the next few months, even if they are available.
“We need ads that resonate with those who are hesitant, culturally diverse groups and young women,” she said, noting that the New Zealand campaign was a success.
The health minister’s spokeswoman said the government was changing its advertising approach in the second half of the year for targeted groups.
“Celebrities are an option because of their appeal, not only to young people, but can also encourage the group over 50 who have been slow to act,” she said, highlighting the recent campaign of Tourism Australia featuring Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster- Blake for example.
Ms Madigan, who is a Labor Party member and has run several campaigns for trade unions and the Labor Party, said BMF understood the need to be entertaining, citing their Aldi adverts as examples of creative marketing that drew people in. BMF declined to comment.
“If you don’t engage people, you won’t persuade them to do anything,” she said.
But at this stage of the rollout, she said she would use fear, not humor, in a campaign because fear was more likely to get people’s attention. Either way, Madigan said the government needs to get people to respond emotionally.
Professor Julie Leask, a vaccine expert at the University of Sydney, said scare campaigns could fail, and may not match the reality of the low prevalence of COVID-19 in Australia now.
“Research on fear campaigns in vaccination programs is equivocal. It has worked in some cases, but can create anger among others,” she said.
“It can backfire on those who are worried about COVID-19 but can’t or don’t want to get vaccinated yet. We’ve spent the last year saturated with fear-based messaging, so it’s almost like we have to move away from that.
The government had a tough job trying to reach different audiences across all sorts of mediums, but Ms Madigan said there had been plenty of time to plan ahead.
“They had a year and a half to do it,” she said. “It’s actually extraordinary that we’re at this point.”
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