The unprecedented push over the last 10 months to boost vaccine confidence has featured all sorts of approaches: lighthearted, funny, practical, serious, contemplative and more. But the most recent ones reflect an attempt to reach all corners of a fractured America, where the reasons behind vaccine hesitancy are nuanced and range from political ideology to barriers to access. Here are 5 that hit the spot.
Roll Up For WA: Western Australia’s initiative to get more people vaccinated is the best of the campaigns that unabashedly tug at the heartstrings. A wistful collage of “normal” life activities – travel, family gatherings, weddings and concerts – is designed to trigger the desire to go back to the way things were. The overt implication: The only way to get there is through vaccination, so get the shot.
The Family Guy vaccine PSA: The first wave of get-vaxxed efforts, many of them tonally consistent with pandemic-era spots touting unity in “staying home together,” may not be as effective as they were a few months back. That’s why we’re seeing a turn to humor.
The latest PSA, nudged into an episode of Family Guy, was written by Seth MacFarlane – with able assistance from scientific experts. The PSA features a vaccine-hesitant Peter Griffin at the doctor’s office and a scene depicting how the vaccine works in the body, explained by Stewie.
“As the pandemic has worn on, we’ve started to see more variety in tonality of these messages,” said Klick Health executive creative director Rachel McCready. “Roll Up For WA is the most aligned to the wistful, nostalgic tone we’ve been seeing in pandemic-related communications, and it is applied there beautifully. But at this point, audiences will no longer be surprised by that tone. The surprise of Family Guy will have more impact now.”
The “don’t get vaccinated” funeral truck: One of the most shocking and riskiest attempts to spur vaccination rates went the dark-humor route. Last week, a photo of a truck driving around Charlotte bearing the message “don’t get vaccinated” and attributing it to the “Wilmore Funeral Home” went viral. As it turns out, Wilmore Funeral Home doesn’t exist and its supposed website links to a local healthcare provider, StarMed Healthcare, and its page on vaccine information.
“It’s a smart marketing campaign that gets people talking,” said CMI Media Group SVP of search and emerging media Andrew Miller. “The shock value gets you the eyeballs and the attention.”
After the image of the truck went viral, StarMed saw an uptick in vaccine appointments, according to WCNC Charlotte.
Black Doctors Read COVID Tweets: This effort from the Black Coalition Against COVID (BCAC) interspersed humor with credible, authoritative voices. In one video, Dr. Reed Tuckson, former Washington, D.C., commissioner of public health and BCAC co-founder, reads tweets from Black Twitter that are both funny and astute – then bolsters the messaging with his own expert perspective.
“The approaches that combine an authentic, trustworthy and relevant voice, a surprising tone and tangible information – without creating information overload – have done the best job of capturing the right attention and introducing a mindset shift in specific target audiences,” McCready said. “Family Guy and ‘Black Doctors Read COVID Tweets’ combine these elements to convincing, sharable effect.”
Do It For Me: The Ad Council has played a role in any number of get-vaccinated campaigns. In a recent video from its “Do It For Me” campaign and COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, the organization focused on the importance of close family members and friends playing a crucial role in getting more people to overcome hesitancy.