Digital Campaign: The COVID-19 App

Covid-19 has changed the way we live. We have had to adapt to the new ‘normal’ of social distancing and lockdowns. The Government needed to track COVID-19 cases to be able to control the transmission of the virus. Therefore, both the Government and the NHS came together to launch an app which resulted in a media campaign.

The COVID-19 App Campaign

I decided to look into the app campaign for England and Wales. The whole purpose of this campaign was to build awareness of the app and to get the public to download it.

In my opinion, the campaign is based on emotional advertising. The message of the campaign is ‘Protect your loved ones. Get the app’ which in itself is an emotional strap-line. It aims to persuade the public to download the app, not just to protect them, but to protect the people that they love.

After sending out press releases, the first step of their media campaign was a TV advert (see below). Did you see the COVID-19 app advert? I know that I did see it on TV but I can’t remember anything about it.

The advert that appeared on TV and NHS social media channles.

I think that this was a very cleaver advert. They used emotional advertising throughout the video to tug at the publics heart strings and, in my opinion, it is very effective. The video starts with individuals from different backgrounds showing us who they love on their phones. By using different demographics, the NHS can appeal to the whole of England and Wales. Everyone watching the advert will be able to identify with one of the people in the video. If they can relate to the individual, they might feel more inclined to download the app so that they can protect the ones that they love.

In addition, the video appeals to the publics emotional side. Everyone has someone that they love and want to protect. The advert highlights this by showing individuals sharing pictures of their loved ones. Therefore, they will be more inclined to take action and download the app as they feel emotionally invested in the stories of the individuals in the video.

Following the video, the NHS used social media to push the message further with the hashtag #NHSCOVID19app. An example can be seen below.

The social media campaign uses the same core message to protect your loved ones by downloading the app. Again, they use emotional advertising techniques such as using a picture of the two individuals to emphasise the point that downloading the app will help you protect the ones you love. The tweet above managed to increase engagement with the public as it achieved 693 likes, 796 retweets and 149 quote tweets. Therefore, it can be seen to be successful as it has built awareness as well as increasing engagement on the post.

I believe that the two examples above are very effective in terms of emotional advertising. They get members of the public to really think about who they want to protect and show them how they can do so. In this case, the way they can protect their loved ones is by downloading the app. Therefore, the members of the public will want to download the app so that they can protect others.

Presenting the facts and knowledge of the app

The NHS also uploaded an informational video to inform the public on how the app works (see below).

As you can see, the video is like an infographic as it represents data and knowledge but in a video format. Visual animations are used throughout to show the public the key information about the the COVID-19 app in an engaging way.

When it comes to an app, the public need to be informed on how it works and what data it stores and this video does just that. It uses animations to make the explanation engaging, but also allows the data and knowledge to be presented. This way, the public are informed about the app and what it can do compared to being persuaded to download the app.

As I am studying a communication degree, I couldn’t not mention the use of the BSL interpreter. I have noticed that the Government in England don’t use a BSL interpreter in their press conferences which is very disappointing! However, I was very happy to see that a BSL interpreter was on this video. People that have hearing loss or difficulty need to be able to understand the key messages of the video and a BSL interpreter will help them.

I am really interested in the two different techniques. Personally, I think I would be more inclined to download the app after watching the emotional advertising video than the infographic video.

Which video do you prefer? Let me know in the poll below

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