Heroes of laziness, a Hamas supporter and David Hasselhoff. The stars of Germany’s absurd Covid vaccination publicity campaign.
Public awareness campaigns launched by governments are usually anodyne affairs. Not in Germany, where officials have managed to spark a number of controversies during the pandemic in their push to keep the public safe.
From spending millions on videos deemed insensitive, commissioning an alleged Hamas supporter to promote the vaccine for the country’s Arabic-speaking population to getting “Baywatch” star David Hasselhoff to promote the jab while millions of people are still waiting desperately. The government is facing some heat for its absurd approach on the public awareness campaigns.
The debate about their advertising strategy began back in last November, when the federal government released a trilogy of tongue-in-cheek videos using the hashtag #besondereHelden, which means “special heroes.” The clips portrayed war heroes from the future, who “fought” against the spread of Covid-19 when they were young by being couch potatoes.
The aim of the videos was to address young people who are normally hard to reach using conventional government communication, Steffen Seibert, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesperson, said on November 16. He explained that young people played an important role in controlling the pandemic therefore the government’s “unusual approach is justified.”