NWT hopes residents amplify ads in bid to prevent Covid-19 spread

Last modified: March 25, 2020 at 11:50pm

The NWT government’s next wave of coronavirus advertising – don’t be a spreader, the territory warns you – is making its way across social media.

Short and simple videos feature voiceovers calling on residents to take the basic steps that will halt the virus: stay away from each other, avoid gatherings, and self-isolate if told to do so.

As of Wednesday, the NWT had one confirmed case of Covid-19. There had been 533 negative tests, while 209 people were in isolation awaiting their result.


Mike Westwick is the NWT government’s communications manager for its Covid-19 response.

Westwick hopes the new round of government ads helps residents “understand that we’re all in this together, and the difference it makes for our communities when we do things like self-isolate and keep social distance.”

We need everyone on board.MIKE WESTWICK

Next, you’ll see testimonials roll out that tell stories related to the virus and efforts to stop it. Westwick says these are in development and will launch soon.

For now, the territory is pursuing your attention with ads across social media.


“Currently, we have close to 30 different ads running on an aggressive schedule with different messages,” said Westwick.

Those include what he calls “shareable graphic tiles with tips on prevention, self-isolation, and how to stay sane through it all,” alongside videos explaining the basics of Covid-19.

Many of the videos tell residents: “Don’t be a spreader.”

Westwick says the bulk of government’s strategy is to use social media sharing and advertisements to reach more than 32,000 people in the territory.


Beyond that, the Department of Health and Social Services must find ways to reach those who don’t have easy access to the internet, such as Elders and people in remote areas.

“We do know that not everyone has access to the internet,” Westwick said. “To that end, we’ve been running radio ads promoting Covid-19 awareness and prevention. We’ve translated these into most Indigenous languages in the territory.”

An NWT government video shared by Cabin Radio tells residents: “Don’t be a spreader.”

The department has given Indigenous and community governments “toolkits” of printed materials to distribute.

“We’ll be updating [the kits] regularly for their use,” Westwick added. 

On social media, the NWT is relying on its own residents to get the message out by picking up its ads and sharing them.

“We’re fortunate that our territory has a number of vibrant community Facebook groups, where community members share information with each other and start important conversations,” said Westwick.

“Our message to communities is: we need everyone on board to limit the spread of Covid-19 in our territory. You’re some of our most important allies.”