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Australian Government vaccine campaign attracts wide criticism on launch

Yesterday 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 will feature 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, will geographically target audiences. It was deployed first in Sydney, which is struggling to contain an outbreak.

The campaigns will replace the current creative featuring former deputy chief health officer Dr Nick Coatsworth.

It is unclear at this stage who provided the creative work for the second campaign, however Mumbrella understands that it was created last year.

Both campaigns were quick to attract reaction from media personalities and industry experts alike.

Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese on ABC Insiders said: “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.”

On his Instagram, Marc Fennell said of the more graphic campaign, “Frankly, I’m glad that this ad carried the Australian Govt logo so you know *precisely* who to blame for this woman’s circumstances. She’s clearly under 40 and has had no access to *any* vaccine til last week. If they’d done their job properly, she wouldn’t be in that bed.”

The Guardian’s political reporter, Amy Remeikis said: “The worst thing about the ‘arm yourself’ vaccination campaign is that it just continues the militarisation of Australia’s pandemic response. It’s not about helping others, it’s about helping yourself. It’s not about what we all get back, but winning a war”

Former Labor leader, Bill Shorten commented on how this campaign weighs up against some of the international vaccination advertisements we have seen.

Regarding the woman’s age in the ventilator ad, deputy editor of Pedestrian, Alex Bruce-Smith said on Twitter: “Did the government people who made the ad not talk to the government people organising the vaccines, or…”

10 News’ Hugh Riminton said: “Completely offensive to run an ad like this when Australians in this age group are still waiting for their bloody vaccinations.”

Matt Bevan said: “The thing I don’t get about the bad vaccine ad is that almost every single Hollywood actor is in Australia right now and we could put all of them in our vaccine ad for zero dollars if we threatened to put them in proper hotel quarantine if they don’t comply.”

The Guardian’s Josephine Tovey added: “Book your vaccination”. The woman in this ad doesn’t look old enough to eligible for the broader vaccine program. What an insult.”

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