Labatt rallies against vaccine hesitancy

The brewer sees itself as a leader that can rally corporate Canada to help push back against public uncertainty.

Labatt has rolled out the first phase of a campaign designed to combat vaccine hesitancy and rallying corporate Canada to do the same.

“Together Again” is the latest step taken by the brewer to help fight the pandemic, according to Kyle Norrington, president of Labatt Breweries of Canada. In the past, it has converted a brewing facility to produce hand sanitizer and provided clean drinking water to communities in need. But as vaccination programs continue to expand into new demographics, battling hesitancy has become the new goal.

“As a community-based business – we brew, drink and live in our communities – we needed to be part of the solution within them,” explains Norrington, president of Labatt Breweries of Canada. “This is what our communities need right now.”

To that end, Labatt has created a website that serves as a portal of resources for people considering the vaccine, offering tips for people before they receive the vaccine, what to expect during a vaccination appointment and what to do after receiving a vaccine. Last week, it also used its channels to boost content from Immunize Canada, a coalition of health organizations, during National Immunization Awareness Week. Now, it is also doing its own social push around its own landing page.

“When we talked to people in the healthcare industry and asked experts what we could do, they said the number one thing is to help push back on the waves of uncertainty around vaccinations,” says Norrington. “They gave us the message that we needed to help build awareness around efficacy and safety, and that’s what I believe our communities need right now – to get the facts, so they can make the important decisions.”

Along with the push to inform the public, Labatt is taking a leadership role in rallying other organizations to the cause of fighting misinformation and combatting hesitancy. “We think there’s a way to bring corporate Canada together with a mission to defeat hesitancy, and I think that the partnerships that we have put us at the centre,” says Norrington. “We know we will do a much better job of getting the word out if we line up as industries.”

Labatt plans to expand the campaign and is already working on the next evolution to the creative approach. “We’re building the plane as we start to fly it here, but we’re going to have a lot of support from corporate Canada on this campaign, for sure,” he says.

While public health measures are still needed in order to combat the third wave of COVID-19, higher vaccination rates are a key component needed to eventually make indoor gatherings safe again and allow more businesses to re-open – including bars, restaurants, music venues and sports venues, the closure of which has had a considerable impact on the on-premise business at major brewers over the last year.

However, “Together Again” is “not about Labatt,” Norrington says. “This is about getting the word out.”