Literature describes a pandemic as a unique form of health crisis, which requires intensive communicative efforts. The government is a key actor in such situations for it is not only particularly trusted to manage a crisis, but also can obtain compliance on part of the affected population. Scholars agree that health messages are important tools to create awareness for the (health) threat. Particularly during health emergencies, information on which preventive measures should be taken is most valuable. With measures often concerning “disruptive actions”, messages must be carefully crafted to counteract negative emotions and controversial arguments. The present chapter presents a checklist for successful campaign design in health risk situations by paying specific attention to COVID-19. To this end, we conduct an extensive literature review and highlight how scientific information should be presented, as well as which message appeals and design features should be utilized to provide the population with targeted and timely information. This is essential against decreasing health literacy rates, which have to be considered in the message design process. To illustrate our case, we will refer to selected national health campaigns which were successfully utilized to manage the risk associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The chapter will conclude with some limitations and directions for future research.
Part of the book: Risk Management