Consumers are used to getting a few freebies from the malls in exchange for their patronage, but that’s usually in the form of free parking vouchers, samples, or discounts. Through Facebook, SM Supermarkets has just announced a novel giveaway: Free turon with vaccine.
“Celebrate your milestone step towards health and safety with a FREE Turon with Langka treat! Just shop for a minimum P250 and present your Covid-19 vaccination card at SM Supermarket Megamall on Monday May 24, 2021 day you got your shot. Valid only at the branch where you recieved [sic] your vaccine,” the retail juggernaut posted across the social media accounts of its various properties.
That’s clear enough. But the announcement didn’t come before mallgoers took note of the ambiguously worded posters spotted in the malls.
“I have questions,” one Facebook user asked, continuing in Filipino: “Why would a banana fritter be vaccinated? What vaccine was used? How many doses? lol”
Another asked, “Do you show your vaccination card, buy P250 worth of groceries, and then get a free turon? Or do you get a free vaccine with a purchase of a turon and other P250 worth of groceries?”
Yet another person noted that SM missed its chance to name the program “Turon for Turok”.
SM Malls and convention halls are currently being used as vaccine centers, even as the World Health Organization (WHO) has responded to reports of widespread vaccine hesitancy among the Filipino public. Philippine government officials are urging Filipinos to get jabbed as soon as possible, assuring citizens that all approved vaccines are effective and to “avoid choosing”.
The Philippines isn’t alone in having to offer incentives to boost vaccine rates. In the US, states like New York and Ohio have begun to offer lottery tickets for a shot at multimillion-dollar prizes to people coming in for their vaccines.
In Australia, health experts and advertising professionals recently told British newspaper The Guardian that “lottery tickets or cash” can be used to incentivize vaccines.
With or without incentives, public health officials are urging people worldwide to get vaccinated against Covid-19. “It’s not vaccines that will stop the pandemic, it’s vaccination,” the statement on the WHO Covid-19 website reads.