SAO PAULO – In the two years marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Special Secretariat for Social Communication (Secom) of the Jair Bolsonaro government spent more on publicizing the R$ 200 bill than on advertisements about the prevention of coronavirus.
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A survey made by GLOBO based on Secom payments in 2020 and 2021 shows that the advertising of the new note was the sixth main investment in the period, behind advertisements with a positive agenda, saving water, combating Aedes aegypti and the vaccination campaign itself .
Planalto disbursed R$ 18.8 million with the disclosure of R$ 200 in the new bill. On the other hand, advertisements related to the care that should be taken during the pandemic — such as the use of alcohol gel and masks — cost R$ 14.4 million .
One year and two months after the launch, the banknote represents 1.11% of all banknotes in circulation in the country, according to the Circulation Management System. It’s less than the R$1 bills in circulation — a bill that was no longer produced.
— One of the factors that explain the low circulation of the R$ 200 bill is the use of other technologies. During this period of Covid-19, many transactions began to be done digitally, such as Pix – said economist Joelson Sampaio, from the São Paulo School of Economics of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV).
Advertisements that preach prevention to Covid represent the ninth largest expense in the period and received R$ 4.1 million less than advertising with “early care”, which was R$ 18.5 million from 2020 to 2021. By the end of the week, there were about 609,000 deaths caused by the disease in the country. Part of these cases could have been avoided with preventive measures, says Alexandre Naime Barbosa, head of the Infectology department at Unesp:
— Covid-19 prevention spending is very low, inferior to strategies such as the fallacy of early treatment. A calculation made by researchers at the University of Pelotas shows that it would be possible to prevent the death of 400 thousand people if we had a more assertive speech in relation to prevention and the start of vaccination at the right time – said Barbosa.
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Bolsonaro used the term “early treatment” to refer to drugs that were proven to be ineffective against Covid-19, such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. At Secom, the term “early care” was used, which, according to the folder, would be the search for a doctor before the disease got worse.
The “early care” item in the Budget financed the hiring of digital influencers to publish messages advising them to request “early care” from the physician in cases of symptoms.
Secom’s list of expenditures provides further evidence of what is a priority for the government. The Pátria Voluntária program, headed by the first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, is the twelfth largest expense in the portfolio in the period. There were R$8.8 million, practically the same amount earmarked for the promotion of the new Social Security (R$8.8 million) and more than the R$3.2 million to talk about the tax reform. The WI-FI Brazil campaign, which shows institutional videos of the government in each access of users to the internet, cost R$ 7 million.
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Despite the advance of deforestation in the Bolsonaro government, campaigns against burning in the country received R$ 47,600 – even so, Brazilian forests are mentioned in advertisements that Secom directed to the United States and England in order to improve the image of the country. country abroad. The Brazilian Forest Code and the preservation of native vegetation are highlighted in videos and posters under the heading “Brazil abroad”, which totals R$ 27.9 million, the third highest payment.
An internal presentation by the secretariat justifies the international campaign by saying that Brazil is going through a moment of “impaired brand positioning and image abroad”.
According to Congressman Elias Vaz (PSB-GO), who requested access to the material produced in the campaigns, there was advertising on digital screens at John F. Kennedy International Airport, in New York, with phrases such as “The world needs to know Brazil by Brazil” (“The world needs to know Brazil through Brazil”). There were payments for posters in newsstands in New York and bus stops in London.
— It makes no sense for the government to spend millions on advertising abroad while the president’s behavior is terrible for the country’s image — said the deputy, who will ask for an audit by the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU).
Sought on Thursday, Secom did not respond to GLOBO’s requests.