As has been noted before, we are at a critical stage in the fight against coronavirus and the pandemic fatigue is acute. So while the NHS is on track to hit its target of offering a Covid vaccine to everyone in the top four highest priority groups by the middle of this month, every piece of communications that can help this effort is vital.
Campaign’s deputy editor, Gemma Charles, wrote in her latest column that, as anti-vax sentiment gains traction, “It would be heartening to see the industry’s best creative minds, perhaps in partnership with grassroots groups, create content that’s as viral and persuasive as the rubbish being circulated.”
I agree, and I don’t think Professor Chris Whitty speaking to camera again would have done the trick – as much as I respect the expertise of England's chief medical officer.
So it was refreshing to see NHS England enlist the help of Sir Elton John and Sir Michael Caine in an ad promoting the vaccine.
John and Caine, who are both in the age groups that are being offered the vaccine, strike a self-deprecating and light-hearted tone as they assure viewers that getting the jab is easy and safe. How rare to see a public-service announcement that is clear, warm and even funny.
As lockdown drags on, people need a bit of hope, and they need a laugh, too. This is the right tone for the NHS, the government and others to take to make this life-saving message heard.
Commissioned by: Lord Ara Darzi, director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London
Writer and director: Stephen Pipe