FG Told To Use Unconventional Guerrilla Method To Enforce COVID-19 Guidelines

 Abiodun Adeniyi, a professor of mass communication at Baze University, Abuja, has suggested the integration of “guerrilla marketing communication” tactics in enforcing COVID-19  guidelines.

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Adeniyi spoke at the just concluded workshop series for technical aides of ministers, organised by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung with the ministry of finance, budget and national planning in Abuja.

The associate professor said behaviour change communication is one of the most difficult types, and requires a higher level of creativity if success is to be achieved.

He said the elements of guerrilla communication involve surprise messaging, novel channels of multiple dissemination, and intense campaign themes, to impact on audience emotions.

“What we need therefore is shock messaging, that would invade the consciousness and imagination of receivers, overwhelm them and get them to rethink their patterns and particularities,” he said.

“This tactic is uncommon but effective; unusual but legitimate, and looks more at a quicker achievement of results, given the lethargy of citizens to imbibe COVID-19 prevention protocols, like regular hand washing, social or physical distancing, and the avoidance of crowd or gatherings.

“It is that fear of death that messaging can play on, even if not morbid, but through a creative thematization, weaved around fears, expectations, and a hope of going beyond tomorrow, and another tomorrow.”

He advised the government not to give up its campaign on prevention protocols, saying Nigeria can lead the way by using this model of communication.

According to the professor, campaigns can now be easier through divergent language, multiple channels, other than the conventional, and in a way that the receivers would be “awed and forced to comply to save the self and the society”.

“The form of communication does not also envisage single, regular messaging, where people become too familiar with it and take things for granted, but one that is creative, constantly changing, appreciated and liked by the receivers, not just because the messenger is determined to stay on the theme, but because he is respected for being innovative, leading to effectiveness.

“We have a pandemic that requires the adoption of non-pharmaceutical methods to interrupt its spread. This non-pharmaceutical method is obviously the raising of awareness on pattern change, an urgent need to cultivate a new normal. But the change won’t come easily if you cannot fund it, or pay attention to it.”

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