Washington State was the first place COVID-19 was documented in the U.S. In response to this, on March 17th, 2020, the WA State Department of Health (DOH) hired C+C to work in partnership to develop a campaign that encouraged behaviors that could help stop the spread.
But as COVID-19 vaccines became more widely available in April and May 2021, the team discovered a problem: young adults weren’t getting vaccinated at anticipated rates. As of May 11, 53.9% of people ages 18-34 had not yet gotten their first dose. And of those young adults, 49% didn’t intend to get vaccinated at all.
DOH needed a campaign to quickly educate young adults about the importance of vaccines, and drive more vaccinations.
To understand the situation and build a strategic foundation for an effective campaign, DOH and C+C turned to DOH’s Market Research Online Community (MROC). Through online focus groups and activities with the MROC, we discovered that most young adults were not necessarily resistant to getting vaccinated, but had two primary barriers:
They didn’t think they needed to get vaccinated. As young, healthy people, they just weren’t that worried about COVID. They had a lack of urgency towards vaccination – “I’ll get around to it, but there’s no rush.”
Audience research also indicated two primary motivators that could help overcome these barriers:
The opportunity vaccines created for young adults to get back to the things they love to do. Social consciousness – getting vaccinated was the right thing to do to help the entire community get back to normal.
Based on these insights, our creative team got to work.
With senior adults in Washington significantly outpacing the vaccination rate of young adults, the fact was that our audience’s grandparents were ready for a wild, carefree summer in a way that young adults weren’t. From that idea, the Ready for Summer campaign was born – dropping seniors into the summer our audience wished they were having.
To bring the Ready for Summer campaign to life, we created a set of four :15 second videos packed to the rafters with joyful summer vibes, showing seniors twerking in night clubs, throwing bonfire keggers, partying on boats and cruising the beach. With immersive shot composition and fourth-wall-breaking dialogue, the spots exuded celebratory summer energy and created the feeling that you could reach out and touch the scenes yourself… if only you were vaccinated. All campaign ads and assets drove traffic to WA’s Vaccine Locator tool to help people immediately book an appointment at a local vaccination site.
Along with the :15 social videos, the campaign featured animated banner ads, static social ads and a TikTok-specific video shot on iPhone.
It turns out just about everyone loves a twerking grandma. The campaign was a smash hit with young adults in Washington, driving 100,000 clicks to the Department of Health’s vaccination website and doubled Snapchat’s standard click through rate. OTT ad completion rates were 98%. The campaign also earned more than 7.3 million completed video views and 30.5 million earned media impressions, including coverage from Adweek and ThinkNW.
The campaign also earned rave reviews on DOH’s social channels, with thousands of shares and supportive comments as viewers tagged each other on new videos as they saw them, cheered the stars of the videos on, and (our personal favorite) suggested that the team responsible deserved a raise.
Of course, a few people accused the campaign of being “liberal propaganda,” too. It’s the internet, after all.