YouTube is aiming to tackle critics who have slammed its lumbering response in stopping the spread of coronavirus disinformation by launching a multi-million pound ad campaign to urge young people in the UK to get the Covid-19 jab.
The activity, which is being run in partnership with the NHS, launches this week with a raft of outdoor activity including bus stop and bus-side posters.
Featuring the strapline “Let’s Not Go Back”, the ads will show group activities and events – such as gigs – that will be possible again after the pandemic.
The second phase of activity from the Google-owned platform kicks off later this month, featuring user-generated content and YouTube Shorts in which young people and YouTubers talk about their experiences of a year in lockdown.
Created by Google’s Creative Lab and produced by Gramafilm, the campaign comprises 12 video ads, digital banners, national press and paid social.
YouTube UK marketing director Zoë Clapp said: “YouTube is used by 98% of online 18- to 34-year-olds each month, and it is the primary platform for the NHS’s target demographic for their vaccine campaign, so it’s a huge honour for us to be able to collaborate so closely with the NHS at such a critical time, to help young people find the information they need.
“The NHS has already vaccinated more than 35 million people in the UK, and we are proud to support them to continue this mission: with this campaign as well as with accessible information from our talented community of creators working side-by-side with leading health experts.”
The campaign is partly in response to ONS data that found vaccine hesitancy rates are highest among young people, at a proportion of 13% of 16- to 29-year-olds, nearly double the national average across all age groups.
Last October, the channel was forced to change its policy to introduce a ban on misleading claims about the coronavirus vaccine; it said it has removed 900,000 Covid-19 videos that broke its rules.
NHS England medical director for primary care Dr Nikki Kananiat said: “It is great to have support from platforms such as YouTube, to reassure people that the vaccine is safe, simple and effective. I urge everyone to book in for a vaccine when you are eligible.”
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