‘Your vaccine is your ticket’: Alberta government pushes vaccination through ad campaign

CALGARY — Premier Jason Kenney announced a new ad campaign to promote the COVID-19 vaccination campaign and experts say it aims to appeal to what Albertans want most – a return to normalcy.

Earlier this week, the premier unveiled a new advertising campaign with the chief goal of making sure residents of Alberta understand the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Albertans will begin to see ads like this one pop up on billboards in their social media feeds, over the next few days,” he said. “The message is as simple as it is powerful – your vaccine is your ticket back to normal life.”

The initiative, called Back to Normal, is expected to depict a number of aspects of daily life in Alberta that residents will be able to achieve once they are vaccinated.

The first ad features a soccer game, where children are out playing together, in close quarters. Families are also seen sitting together, enjoying the weather without a need for physical distancing or mask wearing.

Officials say the aim is to convince as many Albertans as possible, from all walks of life, to acquire their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

“The campaign includes a variety of materials aimed at a wide range of audiences, helping both encourage them to get the vaccine and educating them on the clear health benefits of getting the shot,” said Tom McMillan, assistant director of communications with Alberta Health in an email to CTV News.

CHANGING THE MESSAGE

The province’s new ad campaign is a big change from the earlier messaging health officials were attempting to convey earlier in the pandemic, says AnneMarie Dorland, associate professor of marketing at Calgary’s Mount Royal University.

“It’s shifting the discussion away from protecting those most vulnerable to getting back to what we want,” she said in an interview with CTV News Thursday.

“It’s very much focused on the ‘best summer ever.'”

The entire scene is also framed inside a hypodermic needle, which Dorland calls a “powerful image.”

“It’s a very visually interesting ad,” she said. “This is very much an ad of integrating children into the campaign.”

However, while the ad is still in its early stages, she says it doesn’t provide answers for some of the most pressing questions Albertans have at the present moment.

“There’s still a lot of Albertans with kids who are wondering about access (to vaccines),” she said. “Lots of questions about the flow of vaccines to Alberta.”

Dorland says she’d also like to see more information in the campaign informing Albertans what shot to get and when other groups, such as children under 12 years old, will be able to get their vaccines.

“This is the first kick at it,” she said. “It’s tricky to execute a shift in communication.”

Kenney said as the ad campaign prompts more Albertans to seek vaccination, the province’s capacity to administer vaccines will be there to accommodate them.

“I’m asking everyone to book their dose as soon as possible, take the first appointment you can get. And to keep trucking with pharmacies or AHS through their website or by calling 811. Because more appointments will open up as the supply is confirmed and we are looking to receive about a million doses over the next three weeks.”

The province says more ads will be released in the coming days.

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