Capital region turns to TikTok to reinforce mask message

Young creatives have been helping put together the new campaign to appeal to their peers.

File picture showing mobile phone with TikTok app installed / Credit: iStock

Authorities in the capital city region are turning to TikTok to help reinforce the message among young people about wearing face masks.

The cities of Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo, as well as the local health authorities, education agency Omnia, and the public transport operator HSL are launching a campaign to encourage young people to wear the masks where possible, and to maintain safe distances.

The #maskigäng campaign is aimed at 15-19-year olds and uses video and music to drive the message home.

The wildly popular TikTok app is widely used by younger people, and allows users to record 15-second clips and add music or text to them. It has a monthly user base estimated in excess of 800 million people.

Officials say that preaching to young people to change their behaviour is not effective, so the new campaign will stress the importance of living responsibly, and considering the safety of others as well.

“We wanted to boldly break with traditional notions of government communication and speak to young people in their language” says Harri Rinta-aho, Director of Education at the City of Espoo, explaining that the young people behind the videos have free rein to create the content.

The end results will be shared on TikTok and other social media channels too.

“Friends are super important, and I want to encourage young people to spend time with each other responsibly” says TikTok influencer Emilia Hakkarainen.

“Now it is important to take care of ourselves and others. So let’s wear masks and wash our hands to minimize the spread of coronavirus” she adds.

The first videos from the young creatives are already on a dedicated maskigäng TikTok account, and will also be seen on screens in trams and on the metro.

File picture of maskigäng creative team / Credit: City of Helsinki