The COVID-19 pandemic fueled the largest sustained backslide in childhood vaccination in three decades. 67 million children over three pandemic years missed out on the routine immunizations that keep them safe from deadly diseases. This caused preventable and life-threatening diseases such as polio, measles and diphtheria to re-emerge in countries all over the world, even those that hadn’t seen these diseases for years. In 2023, as part of our immunization advocacy strategy to #BuildBackImmunity, UNICEF asked the governments most affected by backsliding to politically and financially prioritize catch-up immunization activities to reach the children who missed out on their vaccines during the pandemic.
“New Old News” shared this message by contrasting old broadcast footage (50s-90s) with current headlines mentioning the resurgence of preventable diseases globally. It foregrounds the urgent challenge of the past coming back into the present, but lands on the positive and hopeful message that we’ve overcome these illnesses before through immunization, and we can do it again. This narrative encourages viewers to look at the past, see the historical success of essential vaccines, and realize that UNICEF has a plan to reach the millions of children that missed out on immunization due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
The New Old News campaign was designed to launch UNICEF's State of the World’s Children Report 2023 (SOWC), our flagship annual publication that presented a definitive overview of the state of global immunization. The campaign was ideated with global reach in mind, as the immunization backslide has affected communities all over the world. Thus, producing content in multiple languages and formats was incredibly important to have the global response needed to reach the campaign’s advocacy goals. The launch kicked off a year-long advocacy campaign, starting with the SOWC (April 20), then World Immunization Week (April 24-30), and other moments during the year where we targeted governments, media and the public with our message to immunize more children.
To develop the hero video, we first identified archival footage (from the 50s to the 90s) and recent video clips from various countries and in different languages and formats. As a global campaign, we wanted to ensure the content was diverse enough and relevant to different audiences. We realized there was more footage available from the Americas and Europe than from other parts of the world, so we adapted the original concept to include old newspapers, news articles, and footage of immunization campaigns to ensure that the diversity was clear.
The creative concept was developed and executed by WILD FI, an agency based in Latin America; the production was managed by UNICEF’s multimedia team, which comprises personnel from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe; we also worked with various teams from around the world including UNICEF country and regional offices, to strategize the campaign’s development, to create its components, and plan the distribution of the assets across UNICEF’s channels. This came with its own set of challenges, such as language barriers, ethical representation of diversity, and creating multiple versions of the same asset to appeal to cultural and political needs in different markets.
UNICEF is no stranger to these challenges, and once we had overcome them, we had a package of multilingual multimedia and digital content that informed audiences about the backsliding, showcased specific interventions, outlined UNICEF's actions, and asked governments to address the backsliding. This included:
Social media-first content based on the SOWC messaging, case studies and hero video. These were complementary assets in three formats (16x9, 9x16 and 1x1) and five languages (English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Chinese);
Landing page with interactive version of the State of the World’s Children report;
Still and animated graphics contrasting new and old news, also created in various formats and languages;
Execution of a marketing strategy to target and grow the reach of the campaign content in priority countries. Video ads were distributed on YouTube and Meta channels—a total of 48 outputs in four languages (Spanish, French and Arabic).
Engaged partners, influencers and Goodwill Ambassadors like David Beckham, Sergio Ramos, Priyanka Chopra and others, to use their social media to share messaging on immunization backsliding and the SOWC.
The SOWC launch was a historic media moment with the highest-ever coverage of a UNICEF report;
The launch of the campaign was marked by the release of the New Old News hero video, which had 53 million views, including its different language versions;
Overall, the multimedia content was viewed by users over 1.1. billion times, with 3 million social media engagements supporting our #BuildBackImmunity campaign, including the help of a number of Goodwill Ambassadors;
Video content was viewed 117 million times;
We established relationships with 15 influencers in five countries who helped generate around 1 million organic video views;
The hashtag #BuildBackImmunity (and related translations) was mentioned over 2.6k times, generating almost 1 million public engagements;
Over 2 million users accessed and engaged with the SOWC interactive report;
120 UNICEF offices supported, amplified, and engaged in immunization advocacy and communications;
At least 6 Heads of State in priority countries and 43 donors and partners committed to re-prioritizing childhood immunization at events and in public statements.