Scottish Government’s graphic ‘coronavirus slime’ ad splits opinion
You may not be anywhere near the office water cooler right now, but we still want to spotlight the most talked-about developments from the brands that should be on your radar. Today, the talk of the town is the Scottish government’s Covid-19 PSA, which launched on the same day the UK government promoted its track and trace app.
A public health advert equating coronavirus to green slime has divided opinion among audiences, leaving some confused as to whether they should call their doctor or the Ghostbusters.
The graphic depiction of the virus’s ability to linger unseen was created by the Scottish Government as a way of communicating how an invisible killer can spread. First aired on Twitter, it shows a woman accidentally infecting her grandfather with a green gunk that steadily transfers from her hands to items and people around her.
The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.
Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.Sign up
The infected woman is shown hugging her relative before making a cup of tea while smeared in unidentifiable goo, obliviously spreading it to items such as cups, the kettle and cupboards in the process. Upon conclusion, the video states ”don’t pass coronavirus to those you love”, revealing that the mess was a representation of how readily the virus can be spread without proper hygiene.
The visual approach has divided the Twitterverse, however, with many scornful of the ’horror movie’ approach while others praised its ’effective’ messaging.
The Scottish government has acknowledged that the campaign is ”hard-hitting”, but that in research the push (targetted towards 18- to 44-year-olds) proved effective in research and highlights ”the risks of unknowingly spreading coronavirus to those we love”. It added: ”The importance of the message required a bolder approach and was professionally and independently tested to be effective throughout development.”
Tough new restrictions curtailing movement and socialising have been reintroduced across Scotland, with a 10pm curfew for bars and restaurants in effect and students told to stay away from hospitality venues.
The UK government has also launched an advert encouraging people to download a controversial track and trace app. Incorporating privacy technology from Apple and Google, this provides risk advice based on postcode, notifying those who may have come into contact with a carrier.
Public health messaging from the British government has continually evolved since March as the crisis has developed, from ’Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’ to a more nuanced ’Hands, Face, Space’ hygiene message as lockdown restrictions were relaxed.