[Digital & Social]
While the country, and indeed the world, was in the grasp of a global COVID-19 pandemic, we were tasked by the Department of An Taoiseach with developing an empathetic and pragmatic communications campaign to inspire and empower young adults to socialise safely within the public health guidelines.
This campaign was rolled-out in two phases over a six-month period, with each phase requiring us to be agile and responsive in our approach to address the ever-changing restrictions, case spikes and public opinion.
Our main objectives at this time were to encourage 18 – 24-year-olds in Ireland:
To keep the number of their close contacts down,
To socialise safely and help supress the virus.
To enable a sense of ownership and autonomy at a time when many felt a sense of lack of control over their own lives
To do the right thing regarding public health guidelines and support their peers in doing the same.
At this time, young people in Ireland were being somewhat vilified by other generations and social media. However, through research, we knew the actions of a few did not represent the actions of many.
Through focus groups that we conducted, we discovered many 18 – 24-year-olds in Ireland felt they were being unfairly painted with the same brush and being left out of the COVID-19 conversation despite the life changing effects it was having on them.
As a response to this insight, we worked with 16 of Ireland’s top young content creators to launch the #Antiviral movement, to motivate young people to live their lives within the current guidelines and keep each other safe.
The Content Creator’s crowd sourced questions and feelings from their followers, to put to Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ronan Glynn in a one-on-one conversation. Dr. Glynn has been instrumental in advising the government and the Irish people throughout the pandemic, and this gave Ireland’s young adults an opportunity to share their stories, have their voices heard and their questions answered by Dr. Glynn.
The conversation was made available online in long form through YouTube and a dedicated #Antiviral landing page, and highlights from the conversation were used for Paid Ads across Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube.
The Content Creator’s themselves also created their own content, discussing their conversation with Dr. Glynn and showcasing how they were continuing to live their lives safely, and within public health guidelines.
Phase 1 results:
22.5 Million Impressions
This is the estimated equivalent of each of the 330K members of the 18-24 cohort in Ireland, receiving Antiviral messaging 1-2 times per day over the past 4 weeks.
2.5 Million TikTok Hashtag Views on TikTok
The second phase of the #Antiviral campaign began at the beginning of 2021, when the COVID-19 situation in Ireland was very different to the previous November.
Ireland’s daily confirmed case rate had gone from one of the lowest in the world, to the highest in the space of just a few weeks. Our task was to communicate the severity of the situation and encourage compliance with health measures while also empathising with young adults in Ireland who were feeling disheartened at this time.
Overall, our objective was to empathetically and pragmatically encourage young adults to continue following public health guidelines to suppress the virus and to remind young adults why we are following public health guidelines – to beat COVID-19 and save lives.
As daily cases were at an all-time high in Ireland, we became desensitised to hearing about rising case numbers and deaths all over the media.
The daily case numbers became digits on a screen that determined when young people would see their friends again, go back to college and make up for the lost time – but we wanted to show that they are so much more than that. Behind those numbers, there is a story - a human life impacted or even lost.
To show the real stories behind each case number, and communicate the human impact of the situation, we spoke with three young adults in Ireland about the effects COVID-19 has had on them and created a mini-documentary about their stories for distribution across digital, radio and digital audio.
Their stories are a reminder of why we are doing this.
Alex, a healthy guy in his twenties who, like many people, is missing GAA and socialising with his friends. He never thought COVID would be more than just the flu.
Jack, a fit 17-year-old with no underlying conditions is still recovering from the long-term effects of COVID.
Susie, a nurse in an ICU, caring for COVID patients talked about the heart breaking difficulties she faces daily.
Phase 2 results
The stories made a massive impact across several platforms, with results hitting:
18.8 million impressions across social media
1.48 million reach