As Canadian provinces progressed through relaxing quarantine measures, the focus of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) was to continue to support and inform Canadians about the latest safety measures as well as to encourage the population to adopt sanitary practices in order to help prevent all potential future outbreaks of COVID-19.
As feeling of exhaustion set in and stress levels caused by the pandemic lowered, Canadians were less worried about the virus and the impact it could have on their lives. In particular, the youth population, were less likely to follow sanitary measures like mask-wearing and physical distancing. They were the most susceptible population to spread the virus.
Research showed that a majority of Canadians felt hopeful about the post-pandemic future. To leverage this sentiment, we targeted the highly-active youth population by encouraging them to normalize prevention behaviours.
We established a feeling of urgency and a more serious tone than previous government communications because it was important to have the youth population understand how key they were in the collective fight against COVID-19. As with other social causes (such as voting and environmental issues), there was a need for the younger generation to play a bigger part in the movement—to inspire and be inspired.
We positioned the “Future Outbreaks” campaign to empower younger generations to be positive leaders in the fight. The campaign’s directive was not only to convince them to adopt and normalize sanitary and prevention practices, but also educate and motivate their friends and family to do the same through their engagement with social media such as TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter. As well as through their activity on popular media platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest, Spotify, Buzzfeed, and Urbania.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is an agency of the Government of Canada that is responsible for public health, emergency preparedness and response, and infectious and chronic disease control and prevention.