It’s Up To You: the Campaign to Vaccinate America

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A new campaign has launched to encourage millions of unvaccinated Americans to get protected against Covid-19.

Under the banner “It’s Up To You”, the campaign was developed after extensive consumer research, and has evolved to include “It’s Up To Us” and “You Will See Me.”

It includes messages specifically tailored for groups that studies show are hesitant to get the jab, including rural communities, where trust in the government can be low.

According to research around one in three Americans have said they definitely or probably will not get vaccinated.

The campaign is being overseen by the Ad Council, a non-profit that has previously been responsible for campaigns including the now iconic “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.”

Initial ideas for the campaign were based around the idea that people ought to get jabbed because it was the “right thing to do,” but this was found to be unpopular amongst test audiences as it was perceived as pushy and patronising.

Sensitivity about how to address those hesitant about the vaccine has been adopted throughout the campaign. Phrases such as “anti-vaxxer” have been discarded in favour of more neutral terms, such as “people who have questions” about the vaccine.

“First and foremost, we have to acknowledge the concern rather than challenge it,” explains Charysse Nunez, who worked on the campaign at the Ad Council.

“It’s Up To You” cleverly places the onus on the individual by acknowledging the decision is ultimately theirs, whilst highlighting the benefit of being vaccinated in terms of what that will enable – such as social gatherings and hugs with relatives.

Interestingly – though not surprisingly, Ad Council research found messages were best amplified not by celebrities and influencers, but by medical professionals, those that have survived the virus, and – in one campaign – three former presidents (not Trump, in case you were wondering, but Clinton, Bush and Obama).

“This is not only the most important campaign of our generation, but it needs to be the largest too,” says P.J. Pereira who helped shape the campaign. “It had to be an idea that worked not only for the audience but allowed for brands and publishers to make it theirs, too.”

A version of this article was published as part of a weekly column by Guy Cookson on marketing, design, trends and strategy in the Lancaster Guardian, Blackpool Gazette, Lancashire Post and other titles. See our brand, web design and marketing recent projects.
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