Campaign Review: Vaccination ads from Qantas, ABC and hospo industry

In Campaign Review, Mumbrella invites the industry’s creatives and strategists to offer their views on recent ad campaigns. This week: in a special Campaign Review, Mumbrella has asked Edge's Simon Langley and DDB Sydney's Heather Sheen to evaluate the recent vaccination campaigns from ABC, the hospitality industry and Qantas.

Brand: ABC

Campaign: Vax Facts

Agency: In-house by ABC Made

The verdict: Straightforward but dry to some

Simon Langley, executive creative director and partner at Edge, says:

Look, I’m the first to take my hat off to anyone trying to get us out of this shitshow here in Oz and back to some sort of ‘normality’, so thank you ABC for trying to do something. For me though, it’s a missed opportunity to be more creative with their execution and in turn have a much bigger impact.

The execution (almost identical to Channel 9’s version) ends up being wallpaper on air. and feels like another network promo with a bunch of talking heads, delivering the facts in a very dull and dry way. With access to that line up of talent and the trust people have in the ABC, they could have done something way more disruptive and entertaining like the stuff we’ve seen from the NZ government and overseas.

Rating: 4/10

Heather Sheen, planning partner at DDB Sydney, says:

I’m sure I’m breaking the rules here, but I think any brand or organisation proactively encouraging people to get vaccinated deserves a bonus point. Regardless of whether or not their survival relies on it. The more widespread and normalised the message becomes, the better.

When it comes to the crunch, there are two ways to encourage people to get vaccinated: increasing motivation or decreasing barriers. The ABC has taken the latter approach, putting some of their most trusted and familiar hosts to work. They personally endorse the vaccine and address some of the misconceptions out there.

It’s a combo of the ‘messenger effect’ and a little bit of ‘social norming’. Whilst it’s not the most creatively exciting approach, it does feel like the right approach for the ABC, particularly given their diverse CALD audience. Amongst many CALD communities, fears and confusion around vaccination have been high.

For those truly afraid about the vaccine’s side effects, I doubt a campaign promising we can all just get back to doing life’s fun stuff again would have been effective in quashing the very visceral fear of dying. Furthermore, CALD audiences have been shown to be receptive to messages from cultural leaders and medical professionals. And they deliver messages in a straight up, no-tricksy-pun way that runs the risk of getting lost in translation.

It’s hard working, and hopefully its no-nonsense informative approach will reassure people in the communities that need it most.

Rating: 7/10 (including the bonus point)

Brand: Hospitality industry

Campaign: ‘Put a Jab on the Menu

Agency: The C-Suite

The verdict: Polarising to it audience

Langley says:

As someone who is completely over receiving luke-warm Uber Eats on a Friday night, I can’t wait till we can finally set foot in a restaurant again. This industry is without doubt on its knees right now and needs all the help it can get. This is a powerful campaign that not only highlights their passion and camaraderie, but the pain these guys are going through. Sadly, many great businesses that people have dedicated their lives to, will not recover from this pandemic.

I think this is a great initiative from Nobby and unlike the wallpaper of other vaccination campaigns out there, this draws you in with an emotive idea that highlights the fact that vaccination is our only path back to freedom and saving this industry we all love. As I sit here WFH, juggling home-schooling and dealing with lockdown, I feel thankful that unlike some industries, we can still carry on.

Rating: 8/10

Sheen says:

Is it just me, or is there something about this line that triggers memories of that time some nutter decided to stick needles into strawberries?

Painful associations aside, I feel like there’s a lot going on here: puns, odes, and celebrity chefs. I can’t help but think they couldn’t make up their minds about who they were targeting: the hospo workers they support, or public diners whose support they need. As a result, I feel like they touch on an insight about food and human connection, but don’t really land a motivating incentive for either audience.

Rating: 3/10 (including the bonus point)

Brand: Qantas

Campaign: ‘Be Rewarded

Agency: In-house

The verdict: Everyone misses travelling

Langley says:

Ah yes, travel…I remember that luxury. When I first saw this film it resonated, with mixed emotions. Sadness, that one of the things we all took for granted has been taken away. Anger, that we’ve managed to get ourselves in the situation we’re in as a nation. And hope, that someday we will be able to ‘fly away’ again.

So, I guess it’s fair to say that this campaign will be effective in tapping into our travel deprivation, and the sad truth that without us getting our vaccination numbers up, we won’t be getting on a plane anytime soon. Hell, travelling to a vaccination hub it’s about as far as we’re allowed to ‘travel’ right now, so there’s an incentive right there.

The execution does a good job of heightening those emotions, the Tones and I soundtrack is perfect, and for me, really makes the film. Some of the scenes do drift into the schmaltzy space, but overall, it’s a solid spot that feels very much on brand. A brand I hope to be visiting sooner rather than later.

Rating: 7/10

Sheen says:

I think the benchmark of a good Qantas ad is its ability to stir up so much emotion that you just want to go and have a good cry. Well, they got me. Just the thought of the smell of a plane was enough to get me tearing up. Once the oh-so-perfect track really kicked in, the sobbing began, and I forgave them for a few overly acted scenes.

Beyond the film, I think the clever thing Qantas is doing is rewarding fully vaccinated frequent flyers with bonus points and the chance to win pretty awesome stuff. Not only is it tangible, but it’s immediate. Because whilst the idea of getting on a plane is such a lovely thought, it still does feel like a distant possibility, and as those smart behavioural science types tells us: people disproportionally value immediate gains over those in the future.

Together, the campaign does a pretty good job of motivating people who want to travel again to get their jab – particularly those who are just putting it off or waiting to see.

Rating: 8/10 (including the bonus point)

As told to Anna Macdonald. If you’re a senior creative or strategist who would like to take part in a future Campaign Review, please email


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