Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A person wears a sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health in Richmond, B.C., on April 10, 2021.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

Canadian companies are trying to move the needle on COVID-19 vaccinations with discounts and giveaways for customers who show proof they’ve received their first dose.

Insurers, food businesses and even tech companies are unveiling promotions aimed at convincing people to get the jab in exchange for savings and freebies.

Experts say the offers lend corporate clout to an important cause, but also encourage consumers to return to favourite shops or discover new and local brands amid temporary lockdowns.

Story continues below advertisement

Am I eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine? The latest rules by province

“You might be reluctant to overexpose yourself in non-discretionary places and that’s all part of this strategy,” said Joanne McNeish, a Ryerson University professor specializing in marketing.

“It’s a way of carefully getting their brand in front of people.”

Vaccine-related promotions are being used by Canadian companies including Sombrero Latin Food.

The grocery purveyor is offering Latin American candy to people who post a vaccine selfie or help relatives or neighbours book appointments, but stresses that vaccination is a “personal decision” and the promotion is not meant to pressure people.

“We just wanted to spread a little joy to those that felt comfortable,” business development manager Corina Pardo said. “After waiting so long, we wanted each vaccination to be a little celebration.”

Meanwhile, Polarity Brewing in Whitehorse will give vaccinated customers a $6 discount on a beer or food purchase.

In Kitchener, Ont., TheMuseum will offer free admission to the vaccinated through a campaign called Jabbed Like Jagger – a reference to Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, who has encouraged vaccination and will feature heavily in an upcoming exhibit on his band.

Story continues below advertisement

Manulife Financial Inc. will give some of its vaccinated customers enrolled in its Vitality program rewards points that can be used towards gift cards or gadgets, and Toronto-based financial app Drop is offering $50 in cash rewards to users who post a vaccine selfie on social media and tag the brand.

Such offers build on a U.S. trend that materialized when widespread vaccination began and the country needed to deal with the hesitant, anti-vaxxers and people forgoing their second dose.

Companies wanted to help. Burger joint White Castle offered free dessert-on-a-stick, Budweiser gave out $5 to be spent on beer, Greenhouse of Walled Lake in Michigan made free cannabis pre-rolls available and Krispy Kreme promised a doughnut every day for the rest of the year.

While most praised the incentives, critics complained frequent doughnut consumption is unhealthy and Krispy Kreme had to defend itself.

Boston Pizza also experienced a problem linked to a promotion, when the chain’s Front Street location in Toronto offered a 15-per-cent discount to vaccinated patrons.

Director of communications Marian Raty said in an e-mail that the location was ordered to discontinue the offer, without offering additional details. The location did not respond to requests for comment.

Story continues below advertisement

Prof. McNeish, however, thought the discount was “clever” because it was low enough to be enticing but not inspire much abuse and offered by a location across from a vaccine centre and in an area that has seen business significantly slow.

“In that poor location, the foot traffic has been almost nothing,” she said. “They must be thrilled that the foot traffic with the vaccine clinic there is maybe getting them back closer to normal.”

While it’s hard to measure how likely any of the promotions are to generate repeat customers or encourage hesitant Canadians to get a vaccine, Prof. McNeish believes the deals are a nice perk for those anxious for the jab and one of many convincing factors for others.

“This definitely nibbles at the edges of people who are just soft hesitators and helps show here’s yet another reason [to get the vaccine],” she said.

Nazeem Muhajarine, an epidemiologist and University of Saskatchewan professor specializing in community health, said people ideologically against vaccines are unlikely to be swayed by rewards, but the bonus may encourage undecided people.

“They might jump off the fence and get their own vaccine,” he said. “Something like this could tip the balance.”

Story continues below advertisement

While Dr. Muhajarine has yet to notice specific deals in Saskatoon, he was impressed to see businesses that have struggled during the pandemic were willing to use brand recognition to advance an important message.

“They aren’t just complaining about the slowdown of the economy or that they have been asked to shut down or go to only curbside delivery,” he said.

“Businesses want to be part of the solution.”

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies