The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

“I Heard it on the Internet” Explainer Video Content Series

Finalist in Pharma & Healthcare

Silver Honor in Video Series


The Challenge
As a vaccine maker, Pfizer recognized that COVID-19 misinformation was damaging. According to the World Health Organization, “acting on the wrong information can kill.” The article states that in the first 3 months of 2020, nearly 6,000 people globally were hospitalized because of coronavirus misinformation.

Being inundated by COVID-19 messaging that seemed ever-changing, in addition to Internet rumors, led people to doubt science in general.

Situation Analysis
Acting on the wrong information can kill – especially during a pandemic like COVID-19. False information spreads across the web and leads to many people not knowing what to believe or believing in false information. A study of people’s behavior from January to March 2020 estimated that one rumor about a false and dangerous “cure” for COVID-19 led to >5,800 people being hospitalized (and 800 dying).

The Objective(s)
Pfizer, maker of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, sought to proactively address the misinformation and rumors because trust in science is essential to overcoming COVID-19. Pfizer partnered with a trusted scientific content creator on an unbranded social campaign, I Heard it on The Internet, to educate the public through humor and easy-to-understand, science-backed answers.

Strategy and Execution

Research & Insights
Real Chemistry conducted research to understand the impact and speed at which misinformation can spread. According to Integrity Institute, misinformation on social media typically gets 90% of its total engagement in less than one day, which means that for the majority of fact-checked content, the fact check will come in after the post has already received the majority of its engagement. Additionally, according to YouGov, 9% of Americans believe the coronavirus is a myth created by some powerful forces, and 28% of Americans believe that harmful effects of vaccines are being deliberately hidden from the public.

Pfizer – a leader of the conversation around COVID-19 -- stepped up to find a solution.

A social analysis confirmed that Pfizer corporate content featuring influencers attracted more interest and engagement compared to similar content. Additional research conducted identified common COVID-19 misinformation, along with influencer vetting using a set of criteria that aligned with our goals to identify the most relevant influencer.

Partner with an influencer with a credible, relevant following to create an entertaining, informative video series that addresses COVID-19 misinformation.

To best engage audiences, content should combine science-back information with humor to address rumors and misinformation.

We selected Darrion Nguyen, @Lab_Shenanigans, as the influencer because he naturally uses humor and engaging videos to discuss scientific topics.

This was a unique opportunity; no competitors had proactively addressed common misconceptions found on the Internet related to COVID-19, let alone by way of partnering with a content creator. The video concept was a “broadcast TV,” “breaking news” approach, which used humor to demonstrate the absurdity of the misinformation, while captivating audiences.

Execution & Tactics
I Heard it on the Internet features short videos by Darrion Nguyen @Lab_Shenanigans, a “real life scientist” and content creator. The videos dispelled rumors like ‘COVID vaccines give you COVID,’ ‘vaccines don’t work with Omicron variants,’ and ‘vaccines can make you magnetic’ with the ideal combination of scientific facts and humor.

Real Chemistry provided Darrion with an at-home video production kit (microphones, lighting, second camera, teleprompter, etc.) and prepared scripts by topic for Darrion to use in narration. He pulled through his own personality into the filming, which helped emphasize the broadcast TV show video concept. Real Chemistry’s Social Studio and Production team produced the videos, from editorial directing to animation and resizing of the videos for social media. Real Chemistry also wrote the scripts to be both medically accurate and easy to share. 

The nine 90-to-120-second videos, targeted to a general audience, lived on Pfizer's social channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and Darrion's channels (Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok). They were amplified with paid media. The videos were posted strategically either around Pfizer COVID-19 (vaccines or oral treatment) announcements or at moments in time when the COVID-19 climate/cases were peaking.

Real Chemistry’s Social Media team managed the organic and paid social strategy. This was one of the first activations Pfizer did on TikTok in partnership with a content creator, and results show Darrion’s community was highly engaged.


This initiative continued to demonstrate Pfizer’s leadership in the COVID-19 conversation.  It was the only one of its peers with COVID-19 vaccines and/or oral treatments that proactively addressed misinformation on COVID-19 through a content creator series – which was viewed by millions and sparked thousands of engagements.


Video for “I Heard it on the Internet” Explainer Video Content Series

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Real Chemistry, Pfizer


Entry Credits