As vaccination programs pick up speed across the country, vaccine hesitancy remains a real and significant concern in the battle against COVID.
And while some advertisers in the U.S. have spoken out either individually (here and here) or collectively about the importance of getting your shot and the safety of vaccines, Canadian brands have not been as vocal. (And if anyone has seen good government ads about hesitancy, please let us know.)
But on Thursday, Labatt Breweries of Canada kicked off a campaign to combat hesitancy called #TogetherAgain. Rather than directly calling on Canadians to get a shot, Labatt said the goal is to “educate and empower” Canadians to help them make informed decisions about vaccination.
The effort is also inwardly focused, with Labatt providing information to its employees, offering paid time off to get vaccinated, and working to set up on-site vaccination clinics. “We need to educate our employees first—we’re 3,500 employees in Canada—so that’s job one,” said president Kyle Norrington.
But the cornerstone of the effort is a consumer-facing, information-rich website providing answers to questions about vaccines, as well as facts, stats and information about rollouts and progress.
Labatt is also calling on other corporate leaders across the country to “step up,” spread the word, and inform more Canadians about the importance and safety of vaccines so that Canadians can be #TogetherAgain.
“We believe that as the original social network—beer—and Canada’s leading brewer, we can reach out to our partners and hopefully create a groundswell with other companies to get behind this idea of together again,” said Norrington.
“One website with just Labatt is not going to do anything. One hashtag that multiple companies in Canada get behind and start promoting, that is going to make a difference.”
Norrington said he’s had some conversations with other business leaders, and they’re also working with Facebook Canada to raise awareness about the initiative.
There’s some paid social behind it, while a print ad ran this week in major newspapers across Canada. The full-page ad consisted of a letter from Norrington explaining the #TogetherAgain initiative and asking all Canadians to get behind it. There’s no TV advertising at the moment, “but never say never,” said Norrington. “All that’s coming together now, what the campaign kind of looks like.”
For now, the plan is to run the campaign through the summer, or as long as necessary to help attain high levels of vaccine protection across Canada. “Our purpose as a company is to bring people together for a better world,” said Norrington.
“We need to get people vaccinated, and the output of getting people vaccinated is going to be good for Canada, it is going to be good for many business. But ultimately it is going to be good for the safety of our communities.”