Time to hit Covid with a curve ball

Robyn Kessler, Rondebosch

The format has become as predictable as a soap opera script, to the point where one just longs for a curve ball that wasn’t expected.

The regularity in the format in these Covid-19 lockdown-and-restriction cycles leads one to think that people could plan for things that are inevitably coming.

The one major difference between now and last time this happened is that there is a mass vaccination drive programme which is going a long way in treating the cause.

The concept of treating the cause is an avenue that can be explored by industries in advertising campaigns too, and it boggles my mind as to why this approach isn’t being used more.

The whole world is facing the same challenge at the same time. It is relevant to everybody. Any message pertaining to it would be understood en masse.

Why do hospitality industries plead with government and decision makers at the National Coronavirus Command Council every time for restrictions not to be imposed for the sake of the economy when they can reach the public directly and appeal to them to alter their behaviour patterns until enough people are vaccinated so that ultimately they can continue to frequent their social venue of choice?

One would think at a time like this that every effort could be made by the hospitality sector to use advertising strategies that everyone will understand and benefit from.

Yet we see the cycle on eternal wash, rinse and repeat: cases go up; NCCC needs to discuss best messages in the interest of the country and economy; certain hospitality sectors release statements and pleas asking for restrictions not to be imposed; and it repeats every 5 to 6 months.

May I suggest the key is not to appeal to decision makers once every few months but to use advertising to get the message across to patrons that their choices of behaviour relating to partying etc at these establishments, as well as general behaviours relating to mask wearing and not being complacent, effect the state of the industries?

This is in everyone’s hands and everyone needs to do their part, but establishments are in a unique position of being able to use advertising that will speak to everybody. I only saw one doing this very early in the fight against this pandemic.

This is not a fight with the NCCC. This can start with appealing to the general public to be vigilant and to respect health measures, for the sake of their continued enjoyment and use of facilities. Everyone, including businesses and government, benefit, but it starts with decisions by the public.