[4 December] It’s a fairly momentous week in the UK, as the first Covid-19 vaccination has been approved for use. While this is a medical breakthrough, and definitely worthy of celebration, there is a huge task ahead. Vaccinating the world’s population will be challenging, and the vaccine relies on a large number of people taking it. Pharmaceutical companies, medical providers and the agencies working with them have a job to do in persuading audiences to take it. Just last week, an Ipsos Mori poll in the UK found 28% of 18-34-year olds wouldn’t take a vaccine if it was offered.
A study in The Lancet found that declining confidence in vaccines has led to surges in vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles. Last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health.
Challenges exist for vaccine distribution, including educating vulnerable members of society, as well as overcoming scepticism of Covid-19 and the safety of the vaccination itself. With the ability to deliver broadcast and niche messaging, OOH is well placed to educate and inform across a range of regular touchpoints.
Consideration should be given to creatives that address the common arguments against vaccinations including safety and the speed of production, as well as useful information about how many doses are required, how it will protect, and how you can access it.
Additionally, there will be vulnerable members of society who don’t speak English as a first language, so bespoke and targeted OOH can easily be deployed to reach these audiences, using Ambient formats and careful planning based on census and other demographic information.
OOH builds trust
In America, a non-profit advertising group, The Ad Council, announced it would be promoting the Covid-19 vaccination, having experience in the 1950’s when it urged people to take the Polio vaccine. Working with a coalition of experts called the Covid Collaborative, the group has surveyed people across the country, finding only one-third of Americans plan to get vaccinated.
“In these highly vulnerable communities that are disproportionately affected by Covid, it’s a big, big trust-building exercise from the ground up,” said John Bridgeland, one of the founders and the chief executive of the Covid Collaborative. “They trust their physicians, their pharmacists, and so we have to go very local in having trusted messengers.”
Out of Home has been found to be both effective, and trusted by audiences, so it will be key for Government and Health agencies to encourage uptake and aid a return to whatever the new, new normal will look like.