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‘Nobody loves a house party more than COVID’: Alberta launches new ad campaign

Click to play video 'Alberta launches new COVID-19 ad campaign aimed at house parties, family gatherings' Alberta launches new COVID-19 ad campaign aimed at house parties, family gatherings
WATCH ABOVE: There's nothing that COVID-19 loves more than house parties and family gatherings. That's the message behind a new ad campaign launched by the Alberta government ahead of the holidays – Dec 11, 2020

There’s nothing that COVID-19 loves more than house parties and family gatherings. That’s the message behind a new ad campaign launched by the Alberta government ahead of the holidays.

The province launched its COVIDLOVES.ca website Friday morning, complete with two campaign videos, as well as information around the current health guidelines, myths surrounding COVID-19 and resources for Albertans.

Read more: Canada could hit 12-14K daily coronavirus cases in January, modelling shows

The videos are geared toward two crowds — family gatherings and house parties.

In the house party video, COVID-19 shows up, throws out some high fives and grabs a beer from the keg. The coronavirus dances and parties the night away in a house packed with people.

“Nobody loves a house party more than COVID,” reads the tagline at the end of the 30-second ad.

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A new ad campaign launched by the Alberta government Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 states “nobody loves a house party more than COVID.”. Courtesy, Alberta government

The family gathering video starts off by showing a multi-generational family enjoying a lovely quiet night at home around the Christmas tree, when Uncle Mike — a.k.a. COVID — comes to the door.

Like any good guest, the virus brings a festive jellied salad and helps himself to some eggnog upon entering the house. COVID sits with a young boy as he opens up a present, breaks open Christmas crackers with the family and sits down to dinner.

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“Nobody loves a holiday gathering more than COVID,” reads the tagline.

Read more: ‘A warning sign to us all’: Family gathering leads to at least 15 COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said the ads were filmed last month under strict protocols, with the cast and crew required to undergo screening, off-camera masking and distancing at all times when the camera wasn’t rolling.

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Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the campaign is meant to use humour as a way to reach people in another way.

“We were looking at different options for a campaign that would try to reach people across the spectrum, but particularly of course wanting something that would resonate with younger people,” she said Friday morning.

“It’s funny because it highlights exactly what we want people to not do.”

Hinshaw said Alberta is still seeing the highest number of new cases in the 20 to 39 age range. She said the communications and marketing teams have been trying for months to think of new ways to get the serious message across to this demographic.

“We know that humour is one way of reaching people. COVID, of course, is very serious. We want people to take it seriously. But sometimes using humour can actually help people’s perceptions shift a little bit. It can help them think about a situation in a way they otherwise wouldn’t have, and it can actually open up discussions sometimes that are hard to open up in other ways.”

Click to play video 'Alberta uses humour to stress the dangers of COVID-19 in new ad campaign' Alberta uses humour to stress the dangers of COVID-19 in new ad campaign
Alberta uses humour to stress the dangers of COVID-19 in new ad campaign – Dec 11, 2020

New restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta go into effect this weekend. Effective midnight Sunday, there is a 15 per cent capacity limit for retail and grocery stores, as well as places of worship.

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Read more: Alberta’s new COVID-19 measures ban in-person dining, outdoor gatherings; retail to remain open

All restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes must close in-person dining but can still offer takeout. All entertainment venues, recreation facilities, casinos, personal and wellness services must close, also effective this Sunday.

Masks are now mandatory in all indoor public spaces and workplaces across the province, with the exception of farm operations and rental accommodations.

All outdoor social gatherings are also banned, on top of the ban that was already in place for indoor social gatherings.

“It is absolutely essential,” Hinshaw said of how important it is to avoid the types of gatherings shown in the videos.

“The only way that we will bring down our numbers is if all of us reduce the number of close contacts that we have on a regular basis and particularly in those social gathering settings where we know that COVID spread very quickly from one person to many.”

As of Thursday afternoon, there were 20,163 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta. So far, 666 Albertans have died from COVID-19.

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