People who go into governance suspect marketers of manipulation. The only legitimate form of persuasion, for them, is to use argumentation, reason, and evidence. If this fails, and you’re right, then force is legitimate.
This is a missed opportunity.
Only read this part if you’re a bureaucrat. Otherwise, please skip to the next heading.
Most advertising is not manipulative. Manipulation is when you take advantage of someone’s psychological vulnerabilities to further your own goals which are hidden from the person. As long as those goals are not hidden, it is not manipulation. Therefore, a government ad whose message is “wear a mask” is not manipulative.
Different domains demand different persuasion techniques. When I go out for a first date, I love when my date makes a rational case for why we should go out on a second one. But most people prefer seduction, innuendo, and smooth talk to be more attractive. Both are legitimate forms of attracting someone.
Use rational debate and analysis when you’re trying to seek the truth. Use persuasion, storytelling, and marketing when you are trying to get someone to take action. And since the evidence clearly shows that wearing masks slows the spread of COVID-19, you should feel guiltless using advertising. The only unethical advertising is that where you sell a bad product.
How Governments are Reacting to Non-Mask Wearing.
The City of Toronto has now made masks mandatory for indoor public places. Calgary copied them. And many places in BC too are starting to consider mandatory masks. Unfortunately, a few people here in Canada don’t seem to care, deciding to party without masks anyway. And in the US, masks seem to have become a political issue. People are refusing to wear masks because it violates their liberties. Canadian governments are pushing for education before enforcement. But since house parties aren’t stopping, there’ll soon be enforcement.
How Advertising Could Help:
We already know that private parties (with young people) are the biggest spreaders of COVID-19, at least in British Columbia. So we shouldn’t be focusing our efforts on Uncle Joe, who refuses to wear a mask because it’s a Chinese conspiracy. We should be reaching out to young people instead.
Young people don’t spend time on facebook (that’s for boomers!). They spend time on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. It follows then that our advertisement should also be on these platforms.