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Government scrambles to pull coronavirus ads after test logjam


It includes not only high street posters, newspaper and digital media but a TV advertisement underpinned with an emotional ballad recorded by London-based composer, Rainman.

“Let’s get back to how we used to be,” urged the song over images of cheering football crowds, hugging school children, indoor pilates classes, and happy young people.

“Testing is free, quick and vital to stop the spread of coronavirus,” says a NHS nurse at the end of the 59-second ad. “So let’s get tested and get back to the things we love.”

The ad makes no mention of symptoms. Only for a split second at the end does a small arrow appear at the bottom the screen, saying: “Feeling unwell? Get a free test now”.

The print and web posters are also dominated by the “get tested” message. “I’m getting a test now. For you,” shouts one. “Let’s get back to the things we love. Let’s get tested,” says another.  The “feeling unwell?” is again only included in the small print.

Nicolette Robinson, strategy director of Mimo, a leading London brand and communications agency, said the campaign conveyed a “political message of hope” rather than carefully measured instructions.

She said: “They’ve painted a utopia where everyone is happy and normal. Its message is, ‘the world is going to be wonderful again, just get tested before skipping off into the sunset’.

“If they wanted to say ‘get tested but only if you have symptoms’ that should have been the main message. It’s all hope and glory. It’s no wonder people are confused.” 

Insiders say the first signs things were coming unstuck came two weeks ago when whole classes of children returning to school in Scotland were getting tested. This has since spread to the rest of the country.



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