Sweet or salacious? The Toronto ad campaign that’s teaching kids about vaccines


Many people consider the more than 80 percent of eligible people who receive regular vaccine to be heroes in the U.S. For children, it’s even tougher. Vaccinations are not mandatory in school, but studies have shown that about 85 percent of Canadian students receive all vaccinations they are supposed to receive. More than 90 percent of Ontario students have an annual vaccination record.

To celebrate this success, Toronto Public Health and advertising firm Deutsch Canada came up with a public health campaign called “Epic Vaxables.” The push targets eight-year-olds by showing them that they are heroes in their own right — or, in one example, showing them what it would be like if a pandemic hit Toronto and they had to get vaccinated. In one ad, a little girl explains to her sister about her Aunt Lucy, a big hero, who rode the subway into the outbreak of the “Maplepox” in 1918.

An excerpt from the ad:

So far, the campaign has generated more than 500 videos of people around the world talking about a variety of topics (ranging from how much chicken is in a McDonald’s Triple Double to a conversation between two women in a Hong Kong public toilet stall).

“Back in the ’70s and ’80s, advertising was associated with the hospital, the veterinarian or the veterinarian’s office,” said Bob Greenberg, chief creative officer of Deutsch Canada. “But for the last 20 years, in terms of pop culture, it has been about empathy and feeling good about yourself.”

Leave a Comment