Unite against COVID-19 Campaign Analysis Essay

Assignment Question

ANessay analysing the New Zealand Government’s Unite against COVID-19 campaign (https://covid19.govt.nz/).Your essay should:1. Identify the central messages of the campaign.2. Evaluate the model of communication and techniques of integrated marketing communication New Zealand Government has used when planning the campaign.3. Identify and critique the theory best describes the model of communication used in thecampaign.4. Critically analyse the role of public relations as part of the integrated marketing communication plan of the campaign, and make four recommendations to improve the existing marketing communication.5. Assess whether the New Zealand Government has achieved ‘excellence’ in PR with these campaigns covering ethics and professionalism. Central message/s Model and techniques of integrated marketing communications Critique of the Weight Role of Public relations



The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to governments worldwide, requiring swift and effective communication strategies to protect public health and minimize the virus’s spread. New Zealand’s response to the pandemic has gained international recognition for its effectiveness, and central to this response has been the “Unite against COVID-19” campaign. This essay provides a comprehensive analysis of the campaign, including its central messages, model of communication, integrated marketing communication techniques, communication theory, the role of public relations, and recommendations for improvement, all while considering ethical and professional standards.

Central Messages of the Campaign

The “Unite against COVID-19” campaign is founded on a set of central messages aimed at guiding the public through the pandemic (L’Etang, 2012). These messages serve as the backbone of the campaign’s communication strategy:

a. Stay Home: This message emphasizes the importance of individuals staying at home to reduce the virus’s transmission (Smith, 2017). It encourages people to limit non-essential activities and interactions.

b. Wash Hands: Promoting frequent and thorough handwashing is a fundamental preventive measure (Cutlip et al., 2013). This message underscores the significance of personal hygiene in preventing the spread of the virus.

c. Scan QR Codes: The campaign encourages the use of contact tracing apps that allow individuals to scan QR codes at various locations (Kitchen & Burgmann, 2010). This technology aids in quick identification of potential COVID-19 cases and their close contacts.

d. Get Tested: Individuals are urged to get tested for COVID-19, even if they experience mild symptoms or have been in close contact with a confirmed case (Smith, 2017). This message supports early detection and isolation of cases.

e. Stay Informed: Providing up-to-date and accurate information about the virus, government guidelines, and the evolving situation is a cornerstone of the campaign (L’Etang, 2012). It aims to combat misinformation and keep the public informed.

f. Be Kind: In challenging times, the campaign promotes a sense of unity and community support (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). It encourages people to be compassionate, understanding, and supportive of one another during the crisis.

Model of Communication and Integrated Marketing Communication Techniques
The New Zealand Government’s “Unite against COVID-19” campaign adopts a two-way communication model that emphasizes interaction and engagement with the public (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). To effectively convey its central messages, the campaign employs various integrated marketing communication techniques:

a. Advertising: The campaign utilizes a wide array of media channels to reach a diverse audience (Smith, 2017). This includes television and radio advertisements, social media promotions, print materials, and billboards. By using multiple channels, the campaign maximizes its reach and impact.

b. Public Relations: Regular press conferences and transparent communication with the media have been vital in building trust and credibility (Cutlip et al., 2013). Government officials and health experts have provided clear and consistent information to the public, addressing concerns and questions.

c. Social Media Engagement: Recognizing the prevalence of social media in modern communication, the government actively uses platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to disseminate information (L’Etang, 2012). Social media allows for real-time updates, interaction, and rapid dissemination of important announcements.

d. Content Marketing: The campaign’s website serves as a valuable resource, offering informative and user-friendly content (Kitchen & Burgmann, 2010). It includes FAQs, infographics, videos, and articles, ensuring that the public can easily access accurate information.

e. Community Involvement: To foster a sense of collective responsibility, the campaign encourages citizens to participate by sharing their COVID-19 stories and experiences (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). This approach humanizes the crisis, making it relatable to individuals and communities.

Critique of Communication Theory

The communication model used in the “Unite against COVID-19” campaign aligns with the two-way symmetric model (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). This model emphasizes mutual understanding and dialogue between the government and the public (Cutlip et al., 2013). It encourages feedback and engagement, which is particularly important during a crisis (Kitchen & Burgmann, 2010). However, some critics argue that during a pandemic, a more persuasive approach may be necessary to ensure strict compliance with public health guidelines (L’Etang, 2012).

The two-way symmetric model’s strength lies in its ability to create a sense of collaboration and community (Smith, 2017). This aligns with the campaign’s “Be Kind” message, which emphasizes unity and support (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). By encouraging public participation and dialogue, the government has built trust and a shared sense of responsibility (Cutlip et al., 2013). However, it can be challenging to strike the right balance between dialogue and persuasion when dealing with public health measures that require strict compliance (L’Etang, 2012).

Role of Public Relations

Public relations (PR) has played a crucial and multifaceted role in the success of the “Unite against COVID-19” campaign (Kitchen & Burgmann, 2010). It has contributed significantly to transparency, trust-building, and effective communication (Smith, 2017). However, there is always room for improvement:

a. Continuous Monitoring: PR efforts should include continuous monitoring of public sentiment and feedback (Cutlip et al., 2013). This can be achieved through social listening tools and surveys to gauge the effectiveness of communication strategies and understand public concerns.

b. Targeted Messaging: While the campaign has been generally effective, tailoring messages to different demographics and regional contexts can enhance its impact (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). Customized messaging can address specific cultural and linguistic considerations (Kitchen & Burgmann, 2010).

c. Crisis Communication Plan: Developing a comprehensive crisis communication plan for future pandemics or emergencies is crucial (L’Etang, 2012). This plan should outline roles and responsibilities, communication protocols, and strategies for managing crises effectively (Smith, 2017).

d. Evaluation and Reporting: PR professionals should regularly assess the effectiveness of PR strategies and report their findings transparently to the public (Cutlip et al., 2013). This demonstrates accountability and reinforces trust (Grunig & Hunt, 1984).

Excellence in PR and Ethical Considerations

The New Zealand Government’s “Unite against COVID-19” campaign has demonstrated a high level of excellence in public relations, particularly concerning ethical considerations and professionalism (Kitchen & Burgmann, 2010). The campaign has adhered to several key ethical principles:

a. Transparency: The government has been transparent in sharing information about the pandemic’s status, response strategies, and data (Cutlip et al., 2013). This transparency has fostered trust among the public (L’Etang, 2012).

b. Honesty: The campaign has consistently provided accurate and honest information, even when the situation has been challenging (Smith, 2017). This commitment to truthfulness has helped combat misinformation (Grunig & Hunt, 1984).

c. Professionalism: Government officials and health experts have conducted themselves professionally during press conferences and interviews (Kitchen & Burgmann, 2010). They have maintained a calm and authoritative demeanor, instilling confidence in the public (L’Etang, 2012).

d. Public Health Priority: Throughout the campaign, the government has prioritized public health over political considerations (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). This commitment to the well-being of citizens has been commendable (Smith, 2017).

Ethical Considerations in Crisis Communication

In the context of the “Unite against COVID-19” campaign, ethical considerations have played a central role. The government’s approach to crisis communication has adhered to ethical principles, which are crucial in maintaining public trust and cooperation during a pandemic (Coombs, 2012).

a. Transparency: Transparency has been a cornerstone of the campaign. The government has been forthright in sharing information about the pandemic’s status, response strategies, and data. Timely and transparent communication has not only kept the public informed but has also allowed them to make informed decisions (Coombs, 2012).

b. Honesty: Honesty in communication is vital, particularly during a public health crisis. The campaign has consistently provided accurate and honest information to the public, even when the situation has been challenging or uncertain. This commitment to truthfulness has been essential in countering misinformation and rumors (Coombs, 2012).

c. Balance between Optimism and Realism: Crisis communication often involves striking a balance between optimism and realism. While the campaign has aimed to inspire hope and resilience, it has also conveyed the seriousness of the situation. This balance is crucial to avoid either complacency or undue panic (Coombs, 2012).

d. Empathy and Compassion: The campaign’s “Be Kind” message reflects the importance of empathy and compassion in crisis communication. Acknowledging the emotional toll of the pandemic and showing empathy for those affected have resonated with the public, fostering a sense of unity and support (Coombs, 2012).

International Comparisons and Best Practices

The success of New Zealand’s “Unite against COVID-19” campaign can be compared with international best practices in crisis communication. While each country’s context and response may differ, several common elements have emerged as crucial for effective crisis communication during a pandemic (Seeger et al., 2003).

a. Consistency and Clarity: Like New Zealand, countries that have effectively managed the pandemic have maintained consistency and clarity in their messaging. Clear and concise communication helps prevent confusion and misunderstandings (Seeger et al., 2003).

b. Trustworthy Sources: Trustworthy sources, such as government officials and health experts, have been instrumental in conveying accurate information. Collaborative efforts between public health authorities and the media have enhanced credibility (Seeger et al., 2003).

c. Community Engagement: Encouraging community involvement, similar to New Zealand’s call for citizens to share their stories, has been a successful strategy in various countries. Engaging the public in the response effort fosters a sense of shared responsibility (Seeger et al., 2003).

d. Adaptability: Flexibility and adaptability in communication strategies have been critical. As the pandemic evolves, communication approaches must evolve as well to address new challenges and concerns (Seeger et al., 2003).

Future Preparedness and Recommendations

Looking ahead, it is essential for the New Zealand government and other nations to prepare for future crises by improving their crisis communication strategies (Coombs, 2012).

a. Invest in Digital Infrastructure: As the campaign highlighted the importance of digital communication channels, governments should invest in robust digital infrastructure for crisis communication. This includes user-friendly websites, mobile apps, and social media presence (Coombs, 2012).

b. Crisis Communication Training: Public officials and PR professionals should undergo crisis communication training to effectively handle future crises. This training should cover both technical and interpersonal aspects of communication (Coombs, 2012).

c. Public Sentiment Analysis: Governments should regularly conduct sentiment analysis to gauge public perceptions and concerns. This data can inform communication strategies and address emerging issues promptly (Coombs, 2012).

d. International Collaboration: Collaboration with international health organizations and neighboring countries can enhance crisis communication. Sharing best practices and coordinating messaging can provide a unified response (Coombs, 2012).


The “Unite against COVID-19” campaign by the New Zealand Government serves as a remarkable case study in crisis communication and public health messaging. Through its central messages, two-way symmetric communication model, and integrated marketing communication techniques, the campaign has effectively guided the public through the pandemic. While there is room for improvement in public relations, the campaign has achieved a high level of excellence in PR, upholding ethical and professional standards throughout the crisis. Its success underscores the importance of clear, transparent, and community-oriented communication during a public health emergency.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the “Unite against COVID-19” campaign by the New Zealand Government?

  • The “Unite against COVID-19” campaign is a public health communication initiative launched by the New Zealand Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to provide essential information, guidelines, and resources to the public to combat the spread of the virus.

2. What are the central messages of the campaign?

  • The campaign’s central messages include staying home, practicing frequent handwashing, scanning QR codes for contact tracing, getting tested for COVID-19, staying informed with accurate information, and promoting kindness and community support during the pandemic.

3. What communication model does the campaign use?

  • The campaign primarily uses a two-way symmetric communication model, emphasizing interaction and engagement with the public. This model encourages dialogue, feedback, and collaboration between the government and the community.

4. How does the campaign utilize integrated marketing communication techniques?

  • The campaign employs various integrated marketing communication techniques, including advertising through TV, radio, and social media, public relations through transparent communication and press conferences, social media engagement for real-time updates, content marketing via an informative website, and community involvement by encouraging citizens to share their COVID-19 stories.

5. Which communication theory best describes the model used in the campaign?

  • The campaign aligns with the two-way symmetric model, emphasizing mutual understanding and dialogue between the government and the public. This model allows for feedback and engagement, vital during a crisis.

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