The Australian Government has been slammed after releasing a new graphic advertisement campaign designed to scare Sydneysiders into taking the vaccine.
The 30-second ad, which shows a distressed young woman alone in a dark hospital bed as she struggles to breathe on a ventilator, has copped heavy criticism across social media, with many describing it as a shameful attempt to control the public through fear.
The advertisement, which many have labelled blatant “propaganda,” was created last year, but it was held back by the Federal Government until the opportune time.
Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly said the decision to release the ad now follows recent outbreaks in New South Wales.
Professor Kelly said the ad has a clear purpose, to urge people to stay home, get tested, and book in for a vaccination.
“There will be a new advertisement running from the Australian government tonight,” he said. “It is quite graphic. We are only doing this because of the situation in Sydney. And it will be running in Sydney.”
COVID-19: "There will be a new advertisement running from the Australian government tonight. It is quite graphic. We are only doing this because of the situation in Sydney. And it will be running in Sydney" – Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly. https://t.co/Rql2Eda0bd pic.twitter.com/vG1YGdRdm5— 7NEWS Australia (@7NewsAustralia) July 11, 2021
A quick scroll through the responses on social media, however, suggest the Federal Government is receiving little support for the campaign.
Federal MP George Christensen described the advert as “taxpayer-funded fear porn,” saying he’s disgusted the Australian Government has put its name to it.
“This ad is all sorts of wrong,” Christensen said in a post on Facebook. “More than 93% of people who have died with C0VID-19 deaths in Australia have been 70 over. Over 76% have been over 80. In fact, more than 1/3 have been over the age of 90. And yet the ad, with a young woman gasping for breath on a ventilator, makes the claim that ‘C0VID-19 can affect anyone.’
“It’s bad enough the mainstream media is running pandemic fear porn on a nightly basis, we don’t need taxpayers funding it as well. I am disgusted the Australian Government has put its name to this,” Christensen added.
Rowan Dean, Editor of The Spectator Australia and Sky News Australia host, said the clip was a disgusting abuse of advertising standards.
“Every single individual involved in this grotesque obscenity of an ad from the PM to the ad agency should hang their head in shame,” Dean tweeted. “Never in 40 years have I seen such a disgusting abuse of advertising standards.”
Independent MP Craig Kelly described the advertisement as “absolutely disgusting,” saying people should be motivated by informed consent, not fear.
“The blatant scaremongering is disgraceful,” Kelly posted on Twitter. “‘Our’ Government [is] now releasing PROPAGANDA to FRIGHTEN people into getting [vaccinated]. Where’s the ad where a person is having a SEVERE reaction, having HEART problems or dying of BLOOD CLOTS from [the vaccine]?”
“Informed consent, NOT fear. SHAME,” Kelly added.
2GB radio host Ben Fordham said the campaign has been poorly executed, noting several problems with the clip itself.
“Health professionals have been quick to point out that in Australian hospitals, no one is going to be left on their own in that situation,” Fordham said. “The idea that someone would be alone, unattended, in this level of distress is absurd. Anyone who works in ICU will tell you that.
“And then there’s the elephant in the room,” Fordham added. “Chances are this young woman in the ad isn’t even eligible to be vaccinated. She looks like she’s in her mid-30s.”
The Australian’s Washington Correspondent, Adam Creighton, accused the government of releasing “propaganda,” noting that the average age of death from C0VID in the UK is over 82, there’s a median of four comorbidities at death in the US, and that men are far more likely to die from the virus.
“But the facts won’t scare people,” Creighton added.
Riley Stuart, NSW Digital Editor for ABC News asked: “And which vaccine are under 40s supposed to book in for? The one we’re ineligible for? Or the one we were told not to get?”
But here’s the thing the government simply doesn’t understand: When you feed the public what they largely consider to be blatant propaganda, the people will be less likely to believe you, even when you’re speaking the truth.
While the government laments the prevalence of “conspiracy theories” and vaccine scepticism, what they seemingly fail to grasp is that these things are largely the product of perceived dishonest power.
When the government, or the mainstream media for that matter, lies to the public it creates a suspicious people, hesitant to heed the warnings and advice from those who have previously abused their trust.
Is the ad going to scare people into compliance, or is it more likely to further deafen the ears of an already fed-up public?
Once again it may prove true, the only thing the government seems efficient at is undermining their own cause.