Mid-September I was asked to put together a three-minute video presentation on how to approach a coronavirus campaign for a role I’d applied for.

[This, by the way, is why I haven’t posted for a while, nor properly started on that portfolio project I mentioned in my previous post – the email about the video came in the morning I was going to start it.]

To pull together the video I did some research into what was out there already (hey, you’d think I used to do this for a living) and was very, very surprised to see just how poor the official content could be.

Look at these two images.

One is an official NHS one. The important part of the message is the line in mixed case, which is somewhat swamped by the CAPITAL LETTERING in different fonts, colours and widths, and that rather strange person wearing a mask. At least, I think that’s what it is. It could be a Colossus with five o’clock shadow.

The other one is from the CDC in the US. Different messages, but notice how much clearer it is. The messages it tries to convey are obvious.

Basically: if you want people to wash their hands with gel or wear a mask beyond a certain point then big, bright notices with clear messages you can’t miss would be my suggestion.

Social circles

This is even more important when you take restrictions of movement and association into consideration.

At the moment the four home nations have different rules, some of which are not logically sound.

In England two households can mix indoors at one property; in the Scotland they can’t. But they could all go down to the pub, provided it served food. Even though there are more people in that pub from whom you could catch coronavirus. You have to leave at 10pm, although if you’re in Northern Ireland kicking-out time is 11.30pm to match pubs in the Republic.

I can accept the argument that a national “lockdown” is less beneficial than targeted, local restrictions but then then those restrictions need to be simpler to implement and easier for people to understand.

As it stands I could walk around town with 12 friends and a fox in a cage, and claim we’re all members of the Berkley Hunt…

Simple messaging rules (OK)

If you want people to wear a mask and (optionally) use hand gel when they cross your threshold, then the best way to do this is with a big notice in their path, one it’s hard to avoid. That means following a few other rules:

  • Declutter – don’t surround your important message with other signs.
  • Use bold colours and simple iconography – there’s plenty out there.
  • Don’t fill every bit of available space on your poster.
  • Keep messages short and simple.

Ironically, when I went for the interview yesterday there was hand gel next to the waiting area seats. No indication that it was there for people to use; it could be been left accidentally by someone, or not anti-bacterial hand gel at all.

It’s not as if I hadn’t mocked up a poster in my presentation for them to use…!

Minor update After all that work, I didn’t get the job. Two weeks of my life I’ll never get back. Ho hum.