Pfizer became a household name during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as it worked to develop one of the first safe and effective vaccines, and then launched a widely used treatment for the virus. As a result, the public closely associates the company with COVID-19 solutions and vaccines. But Pfizer develops vaccines beyond COVID-19, including those that could potentially protect young infants from disease through maternal immunization. And with cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) on the rise (the 2021-2022 RSV season in the U.S. started earlier than usual and has been more severe than in previous years) and the gap of knowledge around the benefits of maternal immunization, it was clear there was a need to focus the latest season of The Antigen around maternal vaccines.
The Antigen is Pfizer's flagship podcast series that goes behind the science of vaccines, reviews vaccine history, and explores the many facets of their global impact. It started as an 8-part series, has endured for 18 episodes, and spans across 3 seasons – and has remained in the top 1% of podcasts globally since its debut.
Season 3 is a three-episode series that focuses on maternal immunization. Regarding vaccine development, there is a shifting paradigm – help protect pregnant women and their infants through research rather than from research. As maternal immunization advances vaccine science and innovation, this season dives into the history of maternal immunization, the potential benefits of boosting infant immunity, the role of maternal antibodies in helping protect infants, the challenges of maternal immunization, and what the future holds.
There is a gap in understanding the perceptions of maternal vaccines among healthcare providers as well as a gap in understanding the experiences and perceptions of vaccines during pregnancy.
Inspire the public to learn more about the science behind and benefits of maternal vaccines, as well as expand their knowledge of Pfizer’s expertise beyond COVID-19 in a more accessible way than has been done before.
Research & Insights
Audio is an extremely powerful medium that can convey in-depth conversations and complicated topics in a highly effective way. A lot of the stories Pfizer tells are complex, and not something that can be fully captured in a short video clip or sound bite alone. Podcasting presents a unique opportunity to convene a diverse set of voices and zeroes in on many of the areas Pfizer works across.
For this new season, we explored different channels and formats that would be compelling and encourage high engagement across target audiences. To extend the reach of the podcast and encourage downloads, we leveraged social and digital analytics to identify channels that effectively reach the general public and the people who listened to the first two seasons.
Tactics (including but not limited to the below)
In-person Event Hand-outs
Digital Out-of-Home Media
Internal Colleague Activations
This latest season of The Antigen yielded strong results — it debuted and has remained in the top 1% of podcasts globally and peaked in the Top 20 of Apple’s Life Sciences Charts in the U.S.
Moreover, the podcast increased its average downloads from the previous season by 128% and reached over 14M people through its variety of promotional tactics. These results indicated a strong audience interest in this topic and that audio was a successful format to reach our target audience.
Increase in downloads (Season 2 to Season 3): 128%
Average listening time: 64%
Global rank: Top 1%
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