The Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) has launched a covid-19 campaign that reuses ideas from OUSA, Critic, and the internet.
AUSA President George Barton admitted that AUSA had copied the ideas. He said in defence that “if we're going to look for originality then perhaps we need to remind ourselves of what the famous Roman playwright Terence once said when he opined ‘Nothing is said that has not been said before’”.
The awareness campaign from AUSA featured three posts on Instagram with the phrases “Wash your f*cking hands”, “Don’t touch your face or hug others”, and “Do sneeze into your elbows”. The letter O in the words ‘Do’ and ‘Don’t’ was represented by an emoji.
OUSA’s campaign was released one week before AUSA’s posts appeared on Instagram. It also featured the phrase “Wash your f*cking hands”, but the asterisk was replaced with an emoji in OUSA’s version. One of the distinctive features of OUSA’s campaign was the ‘censoring’ of the vowels in swear words with emojis.
OUSA was not too upset that its campaign had been copied. “We love being trendsetters and watching others follow,” said Ingrid Roding, OUSA’s communications manager. “It would appear a few messages [from AUSA’s campaign] are exactly the same in design and message.”
OUSA commented on the Instagram post “BAAAAA” followed by two sheep emoji. Critic understands that the comment implies that AUSA are like sheep, because they have followed OUSA’s campaign, and sheep are followers.
With the original OUSA campaign, Ingrid said that OUSA “wanted to re-enforce crucial messaging, but in our own tone”.
George admitted that AUSA “did draw inspiration from OUSA's campaign and other sources.” He said AUSA were “big fans” of the work OUSA does.
George encouraged Critic to “look at the bigger picture” of raising awareness about covid-19. He said that students should be “reminded that the little things - washing your hands and staying at home if you're feeling sick - really do count.”