Some people may have noticed that Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been in the news quite a bit recently.
The two-time Super Bowl champion — and rumored love interest of pop icon Taylor Swift — played in a widely-watched game Sunday afternoon against the Chicago Bears and hosts a popular weekly podcast with his brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce.
However, for our purposes, Kelce also made healthcare headlines as the lead in Pfizer’s new ads promoting its updated COVID-19 boosters.
Launched late last week, the 30-second commercials feature Kelce sitting in a pharmacist’s office and being offered the chance to receive an updated COVID vaccine while receiving his annual flu shot.
The ad then cuts away to Kelce in a series of humorous scenarios where he can do two activities at once, with one situation involving an interruption from his mother, Donna.
The commercial, which ran during NFL football game broadcasts last weekend, has generated sizable interest online, with the post on Kelce’s Instagram page racking up more than 120,000 likes.
“With my schedule, saving time is key. The CDC says you can get this season’s updated COVID-19 shot when you get your flu shot if you’re due for both,” Kelce wrote in the post. “That’s why I got two shots in one stop! Ask your doctor or pharmacist if it would be right for you. You can also visit CDC’s vaccines.gov to learn more and schedule an appointment.”
Pfizer’s decision to leverage Kelce’s starpower for the latest round of COVID boosters comes about two weeks after the Food and Drug Administration as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended the shots.
In a statement applauding the regulatory approval, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla noted that the action came as COVID cases are on the rise once again, albeit spiking at a smaller rate and with less hospitalizations than previous years.
As in previous years, Pfizer is both pressing for Americans to stay up to date with their COVID boosters as many experience vaccine fatigue while also battling with Moderna for market share.
Both companies have leaned into sports in order to promote their updated vaccines, with Pfizer drafting Kelce for its ads while Moderna reupped as a sponsor at the U.S. Open and aired ads invoking the legacy of tennis legend and civil rights activist Arthur Ashe.
The impact of waning COVID product sales has been apparent on Pfizer’s bottom line, as the company’s quarterly revenues dropped 54% year-over-year, according to its latest available financials.
To read about Pfizer’s 60-second ad airing during Super Bowl LVIII, read this story from February 2024.