Artist, marketing company behind Alberta’s ‘Mr. Covid’ ads say their success means more on the way

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

Several of the minds behind the design of the much talked-about COVID-19 awareness campaign says they’re happy about the attention it has received.

Kurt Beaudoin of ZGM Modern Marketing Partners in Edmonton says more than 400,000 people have watched the company’s two “COVID loves” ads, which were put out last week.

The ads follow a man with a giant head that looks like the novel coronavirus as he enjoys parties, family gatherings and a Christmas dinner.

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

The ad company wrote the concept and then the practical “Mr. Covid” mask was made by hand by Travis Shewchuk, a Fort Saskatchewan-based artist.

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“When we heard the kind of pitch [it was]… and creating this character in the first place, we were pretty sold on it,” Shewchuk, who owns the Ravenous EFX special effects company, said Tuesday.

Beaudoin says that much like COVID-19, the character he calls Mr. Covid or Creepy Uncle Covid is a real shape-shifter and can blend seamlessly into any place where people are gathering.

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Shewchuk worked with the agency’s concept and then sculpted the “one-off” mask entirely by hand in about five days, using various materials like hard plastic, foam, rubber, resin, and paint.

“[The design had to be] not too scary,” Shewchuk said. “It’s gotta be ominous, still kind of mean — but yet at the same point kind of PG-ish.
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A shot of “Mr. Covid,” a mask designed by Fort Saskatchewan-based artist Travis Shewchuk. Credit / Ravenous EFX

Shewchuk added he loved the ad when he finally saw the finished version this week.

“It was such a whirlwind to build it that we didn’t really get to savour any of it that much,” he said. “We finally got to see it on the internet, then it’s popping up on TV and everywhere — and then seeing the response, not only across the province but the country.

Beoudoin says Premier Jason Kenney’s government had approached his agency to create a relatable campaign for people between 18 and 40 years old.

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He says a couple more ads are coming ahead of Christmas and New Year’s, and Mr. Covid will be appearing on the video-sharing social media platform TikTok.

–With files from The Canadian Press

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