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Feds paid Facebook $40,000 for ad showing how to cook chicken nuggets



Health Canada paid Facebook $40,000 to run a video advertisement for two weeks that explains the proper way to cook chicken nuggets.

The video, produced in 2016, shows someone with a plate of frozen breaded chicken nuggets pause before putting them in the microwave, after being warned not to. The ad then says to: read instructions on packages of frozen breaded chicken, wash your hands after handling frozen chicken, and always cook frozen chicken products in the oven.

“Our objective is to increase awareness among targeted audiences of the heightened risk of salmonella exposure and the steps they can take to mitigate this risk,” a spokesperson for Health Canada wrote to iPolitics in an email.

The video itself cost the government about $2,380 to make. It was among four “educational videos” (each made in English and French) produced for Health Canada by Ottawa-based Hyperactive Productions Inc. for a total of $19,076, before taxes.

“The costs associated with this video and advertising campaign are part of a larger social-marketing campaign to increase awareness of safe-food-handling messages. Associated costs are covered through annual funding the department receives to promote safe food handling,” said the Health Canada spokesperson.

Facebook agreed to show the ad, and another static post, on both Facebook and Instagram from Nov. 12 to Nov. 26. On Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, the ad had been viewed 321,000 times by Friday afternoon. Facebook does not show a view count on ads on the site.

The ad targeted parents with children aged 0 to 18, and adults aged 18 to 24 — or, as Health Canada put it, “consumers who buy, prepare and eat frozen raw breaded chicken products.”

As of Nov. 2, 10 days before the chicken-nugget campaign was launched on Facebook, Health Canada says there had been 474 confirmed cases of salmonella illness in Canada over the last year and a half. Ninety people were hospitalized and three died. Health Canada says Canadians of all ages have been infected.