AstraZeneca and 21Grams
The Big Sneeze Poster

For parents, the last few years have been exhausting, and many are worn down from worrying about their children’s health. COVID-19 had eclipsed so many other health concerns that the flu, killing up to 25,000 people yearly in England and Wales, seemed relatively minor. And public health experts noticed growing vaccine fatigue.

This targeted campaign hoped to reach these parents, still in a spiral of indecision about vaccination, before the first post-COVID flu season arrived. AstraZeneca focused on parents and teens in Manchester, U.K., which had one of the country’s lowest vaccination rates at 46.2%. Rates were even lower among certain cultural groups, those with low incomes and the unemployed. 

To jolt them into action, it created novel digital print ads featuring a young girl who sneezes at people as they walked by. These out-of-home posters use built-in speakers and a bespoke spraying mechanism, so the campaign’s heroine can spray harmless water vapor. It gets the message right in the faces of target audiences.

This four-week pilot campaign created regular touch points across online and offline channels. Ads also aired in cinemas, including coughing audience members, to draw attention to the contagion risks. Reactions to the experience were filmed and shared on social media.

Our judges loved how this brought attention to the dangers of flu in kids in a post-pandemic world. The campaign exceeded industry benchmarks, with one-quarter of Manchester engaging with the campaign, more than 2 million video impressions and an 80% completion rate of the video. And it increased vaccination rates by 13%.


Cleveland Clinic and MRM

As COVID’s Omicron variant surged, Ohio residents had become numb to vaccine messaging. With a single word taking up two-thirds of the newspaper ad, this effort communicated more about the desperate need for vaccination than a thousand lectures. Its simple call to action — “We need you to care as much as we do” — resonated, generating 1.25 billion impressions.