Sydney’s top doctor has appeared in a bizarre public health TV ad urging residents to obey the city’s lockdown restrictions.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant stared impassively at the screen and slowly and deliberately read out the main points of the lockdown in a deadpan tone.
‘Please stay home, and only leave the house for the most essential of reasons,’ she said in a monotone while staring blankly into the camera.
‘Do not have visitors to your home, including family members.’
‘Please stay home, and only leave the house for the most essential of reasons’, the health officer says in a monotone while staring blankly into the camera
The public health orders are well-known and have been in place for more than two weeks since June 26, prompting criticism that the ad will be ineffective.
However, top marketing guru Siimon Reynolds, who was behind the ‘Grim Reaper’ AIDS campaign in the 1980s, told Daily Mail Australia he thought the advert was strong as it offered a no-nonsense approach.
‘This is clearly an ad that’s been urgently created because of the continuing rapid rise in Covid cases. The government didn’t plan this at all, they were forced to do it, and do it quickly,’ Mr Reynolds explained.
He explained that the commercial was a ‘pure announcement ad’ that used plain speech to get the message out to the public as quick as possible.
‘It has the tone of something super serious, which is what I’ve been advocating the Covid messaging be for months,’ he said.
‘It would be great if the government created something more creative and compelling, but at least it’s very direct.’
Dr Chant’s ad was in stark contrast to a distressing video depicting a very sick young woman fighting for her life with Covid on a ventilator.
The 30-second ad shows the woman laying in a hospital bed, wheezing heavily and clawing at the ventilator fastened under her nose because she can’t breath properly.
A message then pops up that says: ‘Covid-19 can affect anyone. Stay-at-home, get tested and booked in for a vaccination.’
Federal Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly pre-warned Sydneysiders that the ad was ‘quite graphic’ to scare Sydneysiders into following government directives.
It comes just days after the federal government released a highly distressing video depicting a very sick young woman fighting for her life on a ventilator
Lieutenant John Frewen, the Commander of the Vaccine Taskforce, said the confronting ad was ‘absolutely’ warranted for viewers in Covid-hit Sydney.
‘We didn’t use it lightly,’ Mr Frewen said on the Today show earlier this week.
Top marketing guru Siimon Reynolds, who was behind the ‘Grim Reaper’ AIDS campaign in the 1980s, said he felt optimistic the ad would have impact.
‘It shows that Covid can really be painful which a lot of Australians don’t really believe and it shows that young people can get it, not just older people,’ he said.
He said he thought the ad was ’10 times better’ than a campaign that asked Australians to ‘arm themselves’ with the vaccine, featuring people of different ages and professions lifting their sleeve to prove they’ve had the jab.
Siimon Reynolds (pictured with TV host Kathryn Eisman in 2017) created the famous 1987 advert warning Australians about the grave dangers of HIV and AIDS
The nationwide campaign urging Australians to get the Covid-19 vaccine has been slammed by a marketing guru who said the $21million spend was a ‘colossal waste of money’
Mr Reynolds was not impressed with the ‘weak’ messaging and dubbed the $21 million spent a ‘colossal waste of money and a terrible missed opportunity’.
‘You can’t simply just have someone’s arm with a band aid as a way of changing millions of people’s points of view,’ he told ABC news.
‘Arm yourself against the vaccine’ is super weak and it says nothing more than get the vaccine.’
However, Lisa Wilkinson and fellow The Project hosts slammed the video of the ventilated woman for putting young people in a difficult position.
The hosts argued that because the woman in the commercial was under the age of 40, she would not yet be eligible to receive the vaccine – the only sure way of avoiding serious illness from the virus.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the ad is meant to be ‘quite graphic’ to scare Sydneysiders into following government directives to stay home until the outbreak is contained
‘The person in that ad looks under 40. So what they are saying is you are a young person and you could have some severe consequences from getting Covid, but you are not eligible for any of the vaccines,’ panelist Jan Fran said in relation to the campaign
‘The ad is acting like it’s on the population, like it’s our fault that the vaccination rates are so low but actually it’s a supply problem,’ comedian Nazeem Hussain said.
‘The government needs to take responsibility. We should make an ad for the government to go and get some more vaccines.’
Fellow panelist Jan Fran said she has no idea what the government is trying to convey.
‘The person in that ad looks under 40. So what they are saying is you are a young person and you could have some severe consequences from getting Covid, but you are not eligible for any of the vaccines,’ the comedian said.
‘So it’s like what do you want me to do?’
The federal government has defended the public health campaign in a statement to Daily Mail Australia.
‘The clip encourages people in NSW to book their vaccination, but also to highlight the need to stay home and get tested,’ the federal government said in response to the Covid advert
Gladys Berejiklian has said the city’s strict lockdown would be extended until 11:59pm on July 30, to stem the spread of the highly-contagious Delta variant of the virus
‘The clip encourages people in NSW to book their vaccination, but also to highlight the need to stay home and get tested,’ it said.
‘The Delta variant is much more infectious and is impacting younger cohorts more than previous variants.’
Dr Chant continued to reiterate that young people should not think Covid only posed a risk to the elderly, and the government’s disturbing new advertisements tried to emphasise that.
Dr Chant said the number of young Australians being admitted to hospital proved the illness poses a risk to all age groups.
‘That (number) is dispelling the notion that you are not going to get sick from Covid if you’re young,’ she said.
‘You don’t need to have an underlying health condition to be in hospital with Covid.
Dr Chant said the number of young Australians being admitted to hospital proved the illness poses a risk to all age groups, with 25 people under the age of 55 in hospital with Covid-19
‘Covid is a serious disease and is associated with hospitalisation and death.’
The state recorded 97 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday as Sydney’s lockdown was extended by another two weeks to stem the spread of the highly-contagious Delta variant of the virus.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said 24 of those infections were out in the community while for the entire time they were contagious, but that there were 36 mystery cases still under investigation.
There are 71 Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the state, of which 20 are in the intensive care unit and four are on ventilation.
She said the city’s strict lockdown – which includes Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong – would be extended until 11.59pm July 30.