Quebec government turns to the arts to reach youth about COVID safety

Who: Government of Quebec and Cossette, with Colossale for production, Cult Nation for music and sound, and Outpost for post-production.

What: #AllAgainstOne (#TousContreUn) a new awareness campaign specifically for teens and young adults in the province. It’s the first large effort targeting this cohort about COVID safety, reminding them of the importance of following public health recommendations around masks and physical distancing.

Screen Shot 2020-07-30 at 4.49.17 PM.png

When & Where: The campaign broke this week and includes TV, radio, Spotify ads, social media and online video.

Why: While Quebec is slowly beginning to re-open, people are letting down their guard and slipping into bad habits when it comes to adhering to public health guidelines.

This campaign arrives amid recent reports that several hundred young Quebecers have contracted COVID-19 at packed house parties and bars. While they are personally at low risk of developing serious symptoms associated with the virus, they are key vectors in its spread.

During a news conference earlier this week, the province’s Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said that people 15 to 35 have made up “a very significant proportion” of new cases.

How: The bilingual campaign features the popular Quebec rap/hip-hop artists Naya Ali, Zach Zoya, Sarahmée and Loud delivering important messages in a way that’s relatable to the target audience.

All of the participating artists were given free rein to deliver the message as they saw fit, reflected in song lyrics like “Wear it everyday/this ain’t time to play/came in like a wave/crashing in our face” from Ali. (See all four videos below).

The tone is markedly different and contemporary-feeling than typical government advertising, with a Cossette spokesperson saying that it is meant to reflect the “inspirational platforms often used in high-performance sports.”

About that mural: It was specifically created for the shoot by Montreal-based artist Vincent Arnold, although the building’s owner reportedly plans to leave it in place as a reminder of a singular moment in time.

And we quote: “Maybe young people don’t recognize themselves in the statistics, and don’t realize the risk that they are actually exposed to.” — Quebec Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault, speaking at a news conference this week.

Chris Powell