Australian Government’s payments to Cox Inall for vaccine comms support revealed to be $3.2m

The Federal Government Department of Health has paid private PR firm Cox Inall Change $3.2 million to distribute COVID-19 data in daily emails to the Australian media.

Cox Inall has worked on the vaccination rollout since 26 March 2021 and is contracted to continue until 31 December 2021, with the agency owed a total of $3,203,868 for the work.

Contracts lodged on the Australian Government Tender website show public relations agency, Cox Inall Change, awarded $2,903,868 on 16 August 2021 for “public relations agency to support COVID vaccine communication work”.

On 3 June 2021, the department, which has its own media and communications team, paid the agency $300,000 for three months work to provide “agency and event support for COVID-19 vaccine communications”.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health provided a statement to Mumbrella that Cox Inall are contracted to deliver a “robust and comprehensive communication strategy” to support the Australian Government’s National COVID-19 Vaccines Campaign.

“In addition, a significant program of work is also underway to address misinformation and encourage vaccination within the Australian community.  This includes videos with people advocating vaccination, such as high profile personalities as well as everyday Australians.”

The recent hire of the PR agency comes off the back of the government attracting large criticism of its two COVID-19 vaccine campaigns.

In July, the Australian Government released two COVID-19 vaccine campaigns aimed at increasing the rates of vaccination in Australia. The primary campaign urged Australians to ‘arm yourself’ against COVID-19.

The BMF-produced campaign features across media including outdoor, digital, TV, print and social media.

Meanwhile, another more graphic campaign not created by BMF and featuring a young woman in hospital struggling to survive against the disease geographically targeted audiences. It was deployed first in Sydney, which is still struggling to contain the outbreak.

Federal opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, said on ABC Insiders: “What we need is taking the expertise Australia has always done so well. We were the best in the world in the campaign against Aids, we’ve done drink-driving very well, but after 18 months if this is the best they can do, they need to go back to the drawing board.”

Cox Inall Change clients include federal and state governments as well as not for profits.

The agency is part of the Dentsu Aegis Network Australia family, alongside leading advertising agency BWM Dentsu.

This story has been updated since first being published. A previous version referred to Cox Inall Communications which is a separate entity to Cox Inall Change.


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