Online campaign hopes a little laughter dispels myths about COVID-19

“We’re looking at the virus as a trickster. It wants to trick us into using us as its vehicle to get around and to spread and grow”

Jocelyn Formsma wants to stamp out fallacies about COVID-19 and she’s recruiting the help of well-known comedian Ryan McMahon to do it in a new digital awareness campaign.

“Put on the myths, bust the myths and have a couple of laughs while we’re doing it, right?” Formsa, executive director of the National Association of Friendship Centres, told APTN News.

She says there are too many falsehoods about the virus on social media.

“We’ve heard some around direct sunlight and heat killing and using different kinds of vitamins. And that, well can they be spread through mosquitoes and all kinds of things,” she said.

To combat that, NAFC just put out its first 30-second spot and hopes to do six or seven more.

“We’re looking at the virus as a trickster,” said Formsma. “It wants to trick us into using us as its vehicle to get around and to spread and grow. So, we want to stop that trickster as soon as we can so it doesn’t wreak any more havoc in our communities.”

McMahon has been making Indigenous people laugh for decades, and has also been involved with the friendship centre movement.

“In terms of being a trusted voice, in terms of being someone who knows friendship centres and also could appeal to our community members he seemed like the natural choice to have as part of this,” said Formsma, who believes people will find the ads memorable.

“We’ve heard a lot of positive comments. And people finding the song really catchy. And so we’re hoping that’s the song people are singing this summer.”

A Facebook live is also planned with Metis physician Dr. Janet Smylie for July 22.

They’re calling it a “kitchen table talk” and hope to bust more COVID-19 misconceptions.

Host/Producer Nation to Nation - Ottawa

Todd Lamirande is a member of the Métis Nation. He’s the Host/Producer of APTN’s political show, Nation to Nation. Todd first joined APTN in 2000 as a video journalist. He then anchored APTN National News for 2 years and moved on to host APTN Investigates for 5 seasons.