Showing that campaign timing is everything, Victoria Bitter, owned by Carlton and United Breweries, has launched an advert to encourage Australians to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The television campaign is a riff on VB’s ‘hard earned thirst’ slogan and will be broadcast on television in states currently in lockdown with additional print advertising.
It will run for at least a month, “to help Australia achieve National Cabinet’s requirement of 80 per cent vaccinations before widespread lockdowns end”.
With COVID numbers increasing in certain states and Australians once again experiencing weeks of lockdowns, now seemed the right time for CUB to launch its own campaign and VB’s head of marketing Brian Phan said the campaign aimed to encourage Australians to get vaccinated and get back to some sense of normality.
“This will support hospitality and business more broadly by encouraging Aussies to get the jab so we can reopen all of Australia’s pubs, clubs, construction sites, offices, shops and everywhere else you earn a hard earned thirst,” he said in a media statement about the campaign.
The campaign shows that timing is key, after Stomping Ground Brewing Co. retracted a similar vaccination-related campaign in June prior to the most recent wave of outbreaks.
Back then, the Melbourne brewery launched its ‘Pot for Shot’ campaign on social media, which was subsequently flooded with anti-vaccination campaigners attacking it, before Stomping Ground removed the posts.
Dr Monique Lewis, lecturer at Queensland’s Griffith University, said at the time that being cognisant of the issues surrounding health or social causes was vital when developing a campaign.
“If you’re supporting a major public health initiative in a promotion, then be mindful that’s exactly what you’re doing. And be mindful that this is happening within a wider political context,” she said.
Since then, a number of breweries as well as hospitality venues, tourism bodies and airlines have taken up the mantle, advertising offers for those who get vaccinated or launching promotional campaigns.
Furphy is another brand to get on board, today announcing it has also launched a national initiative offering free glasses of Furphy beer to Australians who have been double jabbed.
Other similar deals have faced controversy not just from anti-vaccination proponents, but also Therapeutic Goods Administration.
The TGA banned Melbourne pub The Prince Alfred Hotel from offering a ‘pot for shot’-style deal in July, but following prime ministerial intervention, the TGA now allows free alcohol offers to promote the COVID-19 vaccine, with a number of caveats.
These restrictions mean that adverts must avoid the promotion of rapid or excessive consumption of alcohol, vaccine comparisons, or potential appeal to minors, and ensure that advertisements or offers do not provide any misinformation about the vaccine.