#TakeTheVaccine: Why most of us are in it together

covid jabIt has to be said that, here at the Decision Marketing Nerve Centre, we are not big fans of celebrity culture and nothing has reinforced our loathing more than the Covid pandemic. From Victoria Beckham furloughing her workforce and Rita Ora’s secret 30th birthday bash to Gordon Ramsey decamping to Cornwall and Kanye West jetting into London for a fashion show, most have not exactly covered themselves in glory.

But, just when you thought all hope was lost, up pops a new celebrity-packed campaign encouraging ethnic-minority communities to get vaccinated against coronavirus, organised by Citizen Khan star Adil Ray.

The three-and-a-half minute video features prominent figures – from actors and sports stars to musicians – including Ray, Moeen Ali, Denise Lewis, Romesh Ranganathan, Meera Syal, David Olusoga and Beverley Knight, who address vaccine hesitancy among ethnic communities.

Recent data has shown that black, Asian and mixed-ethnicity people were less likely to have been vaccinated than white people among those aged 80 and older in England; in fact white people were almost twice as likely to have had the jab.

Even so, ethnic minorities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with higher Covid death rates compared with white people.

The #TakeTheVaccine ad “roadblock” ran simultaneously this week on ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as on some Sky TV channels and STV, while the BBC, whose charter prevents it from taking part in such campaigns, has been covering the topic across a number of radio and TV programmes.

They debunk myths about the vaccine, such as it containing animal products, not being halal or causing infertility. “There’s no chip or tracker in the vaccine to keep watching where you go,” Ranganathan says in the ad. “Your mobile phone actually does a much better job of that.”

The campaign will also run across digital out-of-home sites in partnership with Clear Channel. It was managed by Samir Ahmed, founder of cultural diversity specialist agency Media Hive, with creative support from the ad agency Engine.

An earlier version of the film ran online in January and was reshot and re-edited for this campaign. Adil Ray said: “We are in unprecedented times and the fact remains this pandemic disproportionately affects people from ethnic minority communities.

“It’s heartening to see all the major broadcasters come together in an equally unprecedented television broadcast at this crucial time – an indication of how serious this situation is. We must all engage and encourage one another to do the right thing. The message is simple: take the vaccine, save lives.”

ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “Encouraging take-up of the vaccine will save lives. That’s why ITV has worked with the other broadcasters to create a unique ‘roadblock’ simultaneous transmission so that this message is delivered to the most people at the same time.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, we don’t like to say we told you so, but, hey, we told you so. Only last week when we reviewed the old pals’ act of Elton John and Michael Caine promoting the jabs, we called for more action to tackle the low take-up among ethnic communities.

Right on time, here it is and let’s just hope it does the trick. After all, although many out of touch celebrities might not appreciate it, most of us are in this together.

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “community spirited” 10 out of 10

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