Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This ad has 22 minutes of fame

I've always told my clients that the best indicator of a campaign's success will be if it is parodied by Rick Mercer.

Well, we almost made it.

Last night, This Hour Has 22 Minutes spoofed our latest H1N1 TV ad, starring Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. David Butler-Jones:

(Link in text above — it's not on YouTube yet.)

Okay, so that parody version is not THH22M's best work. (Their PHAC "proper sneezing" spoof was somewhat better.) The best they've got is that "we bought too much vaccine" and "this flu was a bust". Hardly biting satire, considering that we're talking about the global pandemic we've been bracing ourselves for years for being less deadly than anticipated.

(The "mildness" of the pandemic is hardly a comfort to the loved ones of its 14,000+ victims worldwide, and the World Health Organization says we shouldn't let our guard down just yet, either.)

While I realize it is fun to joke about what a "fail" of a pandemic H1N1 is, I also believe that we need to stay alert and protected from preventable harm. And that's what good primary health care is all about – reducing risk and keeping people healthy.

As ad people, we try not to take ourselves too seriously. And the imitation is quite flattering. And we realize that getting the shot, or not, is your call. But I think it's a tip of the hat to our Chief Public Health Officer that as a passionate and concerned advocate of scientific approaches to managing public health, his message didn't exactly pan out to be comedy gold for the CBC's political jesters.

Oh, and speaking of Rick Mercer, here was his take on the efficacy of seasonal flu shots four years ago:

God, 22 Minutes must miss him. I know I do. If you're going to take a shot at a social marketing campaign, at least bring the wicked funny.

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