The Ad Council wants Americans to know that it is okay to have questions about the vaccines when a major Covid-19 vaccine awareness campaign is launched. And it wants to point to verified, accurate answers to these questions.
The Ad Council is a not-for-profit organization that publishes and disseminates public announcements, including campaigns such as “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” and “Smokey Bear”. She has disseminated information during times of crisis including after September 11th and Hurricane Katrina.
Now the organization is stepping up one of the largest public education efforts in US history with the Covid Collaborative, a coalition of health, education and business experts.
“I think it’s fair to say that this is the biggest problem of our lives. And we really felt it required the most significant public education effort we’ve ever made,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council, in an interview with CNBC. “We began to hope that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel when these vaccines are available, and the extraordinary and heroic efforts of the scientific community to make it happen. At the same time, however, we were very much aware that there was a great deal of There are vaccines. ” Vaccine hesitation, especially in color communities. ”
The organization strives to provide factual information to the American public and works with the best vaccine and health professionals to move people from “vaccine reluctance” to “vaccine trust,” she said.
The reach of the campaign will be broad. Dozens of brands, media companies and social platforms are creating content and donating media to get the message across, “It’s up to you.” These partners include Disney, Fox, Google and YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, Twitter and many more.
For example, Spotify will be creating audio pressure-sensitive adhesives and messaging points for podcast hosts for vaccine awareness and education information. Disney will be posting public service announcements on platforms like ABC, ESPN and Hulu, while Twitter will develop a custom hashtag emoji to support the campaign and host a live Q&A with a medical expert.
The campaign takes people to a website, GetVaccineAnswers.org, where they can get answers to questions about the vaccines. Sherman said the website is regularly updated with data and information. The website has been reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health, and the FDA and will be available in seven languages, she said.
The site’s landing page reads, “You have questions. That’s good.” It continues: “It is normal to be careful when something new comes out. Wanting to know more is a good thing – it means you want to be informed. And to be informed about COVID-19 vaccines, is an important step to stop this pandemic. ” . “
Sherman said the group found from research that those hesitant to take the vaccine may have questions about whether there is a tradeoff between the speed and effectiveness of the shots. She said messaging is supposed to have an empathic approach and make it clear that it’s okay to have questions and acknowledge concerns. It also strives to be respectful and not to put people off through violence or judgment.
“It’s based on the idea that people really have questions, which makes perfect sense. And we want to normalize the problem of hesitation in order to answer their questions,” Sherman said.
With so many different communities to reach, the organization works with many different groups so that people can hear from the people and groups they trust most. The Ad Council said it is working with more than 300 major brands, media companies, organizations, faith leaders, medical experts, and other groups to reach diverse audiences.
“We understand we need a big messaging platform and a coordinated approach, which is why we’re forming such a big coalition,” said Sherman. “But we are also aware that this cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution. We needed a multi-faceted campaign, several different efforts to reach these different target groups and to talk to them more precisely about the hesitations they have.” Creative agency Pereira O’Dell developed the “It’s Up To You” creative platform pro bono, while the organization said other agencies are working to adapt and expand the message for different communities.
The campaign targeted efforts to reach black and Hispanic communities who, according to the Ad Council, were particularly hard hit by the pandemic and exhibited high levels of reluctance. The Ad Council works with individuals and groups trusted in these communities, including faith-based leaders, doctors and pharmacists, as well as groups such as NAACP, UnidosUS, Color of Change, and others.
Sherman said the organization is providing these groups and individuals with information, research, and creative resources. The group has even worked on scriptural sermons that ministers can include in Sunday conversations with their ward members.
“These are the tools we all equip our partners with so they can really do what they do best with those credible, trustworthy voices,” she said.
Sherman said the organization raised more than $ 52 million in funding from private sector actors to meet the “hard cost” of the effort, including manufacturing, research and tracking. However, she estimates the campaign will receive over half a billion dollars in donation including media, time and talent. The vaccination campaign is expected to last 12 to 18 months.