By Meghan Brink | September 12, 2021
A casual viewer of UAlbany’s official Instagram account yesterday might have found it peculiar that the school was demanding, “We want your spit.”
These comical messages are a part of a social media campaign released by the university yesterday that attempted to target student participation in COVID-19 related safety protocol. They attracted almost double the views of what typical COVID-19 content on the account typically sees, according to Ashley DelSignore, Senior Director for Content Marketing and Strategy, and Brendon Phillips, Social Media Specialist, the minds behind the posts.
“The goal of this effort specifically was to get students’ attention - and it worked,” said DelSignore.
The “spit” referred to in the posts was a call for students who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated to participate in the required weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing program. The message included a graphic of a masked Damien telling students to “Come. Sit. Spit. Good Boy!”
Along with the slogans that brought howls of laughter from students, the posts included detailed information on who is required to participate in the testing programs, how to pick up a testing kit, how to register a kit, and where and when students should submit their saliva samples.
“Our goal was to get students’ attention regarding surveillance testing to help keep our community safe, both on and off-campus, students and non-students alike,” said DelSignore.
Many students screenshot and reposted the images of these posts on their own personal Instagram accounts. The safety message made it to Barstool Albany, an Instagram account with 20.5 thousand followers that posts videos targeting the UAlbany student population.
“They getting a lil kinky with these signs,” read the caption on the Barstool Albany post that received over 2,000 likes.
Some students in the comment could not believe such messaging was created by the school. Some of the comments under the images on Barstool read “IS THIS REAL” and “who looked at this and said ‘yeah this is perfect send it out to 30K people.’”
Some students made parodies of messaging, emphasizing the sexual innuendo within the posts. The account Albanychicks posted an edited version of the post reading, “I want your spit in my mouth” with the caption, “send this to your man, tell us his reaction.”
Albanychicks thought that this social media campaign was a clever way for the university to share COVID-19 safety information.
“I don’t even think they realize that they are helping,” said the account in a comment to the ASP. “I made this cause I thought it was funny, but it does kinda help the message get spread if you think about it.”