As Quebecers charge towards the holidays, government urges Covid-19 booster shots

There’s an almost palpable sense of anticipation around what could be the first “normal” holiday season in several years, but Quebec’s Ministry of Social Services is urging people to continue protecting themselves against Covid-19 with an upbeat campaign.

Developed by Cossette Montreal, the awareness campaign debuted this week and runs through Dec. 18 across TV, digital, radio and print. It’s urging Quebecers to get a Covid-19 booster shot before the holiday season—and all of those family gatherings—gets fully underway.

It is anchored by a 30-second spot that opens on a crowd of holiday revellers, led by Santa, emerging out of a snowstorm and happily charging in slow-motion towards the holidays.

Bells jingle and a choir sings as we see an array of people—elves, carollers, children, Nutcracker ballerinas, home bakers, a gingerbread man—all rushing headlong towards the holidays. That’s followed by the message: “The holidays are coming. Get vaccinated now so you’re protected in time.”

The spot is intended to symbolize the “frenzy” of the holiday season through a positive message, said Marie-Claude Lacasse, director of communications with the Ministry of Social Services.

“The Government of Quebec wanted this offensive to pique the interest of the population,” said Lacasse. “We also wanted to change the tone of the advertisements related to COVID-19 in order to avoid the visual fatigue that may have been created over the past two years.”

The campaign could face some challenges in changing Quebecers’ attitude towards getting a booster shot, however. In an August survey by Léger, only 53% of respondents said they would “probably” get a booster, while 38% said it was “unlikely.” Among the latter group, 18% said they were strongly opposed to getting a booster.

Chris Powell