‘Creepy Uncle COVID’: Alberta COVID-19 Ad Warns of Holiday Gatherings


EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – A frankly somewhat terrifying new advertising campaign from the Government of Alberta highlights the risk of having family reunions while on vacation.
The video begins with a relative coming to the door to celebrate, but he turns out to be an unwanted guest.

This is the COVID uncle, wearing a large mask that looks like the coronavirus molecule.

The visiting virus then continues to put their hands in a bowl of eggnog, share gifts with the family, and sit down for dinner.

The ad ends with a grim message that “no one loves the holidays more than COVID”.

It’s all tied into a digital campaign, with more information and terrifying posts on COVIDloves.ca.

While the ad is seen as nightmare fuel for some, it certainly generates a conversation and is already very popular online, racking up thousands of views on YouTube and being shared hundreds of times on Twitter soon after launch.

“A very disturbing ball-headed, COVID figure that’s probably going to haunt my dreams tonight, to be perfectly frank,” said Dr. AnneMarie Dorland, assistant professor of marketing at Mount Royal University.

Dorland believes that the fact that this is a pretty scary visual could be the key to his success as well.

“The idea that our friends and loved ones could be a source of danger is terrifying. The idea that Christmas could be a dangerous time is terrifying, ”she said. “This is an alarming message.”

Throughout the pandemic, there has been a particular challenge in connecting with young people as government and health officials have highlighted social gatherings to drive the spread of the virus in recent months.

Judging by the immediate reaction from social media, it looks like the strategy is working.

“The faster it picks up, the more it’s shared, and these things take off. Campaigns like this develop wings in terms of going out into the world and sharing among people, ”she said. “It’s already given me a way to think about how to have a conversation that can be really tense, to be perfectly honest. It’s a difficult thing to say. ”

Although it is difficult in some ways to determine the success of this campaign, but time will tell if the cases of COVID-19 start to decrease and it is then possible that strategies like this played a role.

The campaign also cost around $ 2 million, which Dorland found quite reasonable for this situation. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that needs to go into something like this, along with months of prep, hiring actors, and of course trying to develop the COVID-19 spooky face for the title character.

“It’s not just an advertisement,” she says. “It’s a strategy. It’s a war. And this is a war that we have to fight with everything we have, and changing our behavior is really, really critical and it takes everything we have. It’s an important part of this puzzle. ”

It also creatively identifies each safety measure, including wearing a mask and disinfecting, as different ways to fight COVID-19.

Wear a mask: “Take it off and come closer, I have a secret… I hate masks”, is one of them.

Sanitize: “I hate the smell of this stuff. Plus, disinfectants kill germs. Ask yourself: are you a cold blooded killer?

Social distancing: “Two meters, six feet, a ski length… no matter how you measure it, I hate it. ”

No social gatherings: “I’m super techie, so yeah, I won’t be coming to your virtual party. ”

Avoid travel: “No one travels like me, I am the ultimate globetrotter. So if you are planning any flights or road trips I could just go with you. ”

Isolate in case of illness: “It breaks my heart when people ghost me for two weeks. I meet them and they avoid me like the plague.

Get tested: “Sure, I’ll go to the clinic, but only if we can stop for ice cream and groceries and try on clothes.”

Dorland said there was an added bonus for particularly frightening ads, as no one wants to be the one to spread a deadly virus to their family, friends and loved ones.

“Do you want to be scary Uncle COVID?” I don’t want to be scary Uncle COVID. Good Lord. ”


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