Ad Council kicks off $50 million vaccine education campaign

The national rollout, in partnership with COVID collaborative and major corporations, has a significant Black and Hispanic target component.

The Ad Council began rolling out the first phase of its $50 million national COVID-19 vaccine education campaign, one of the largest public information campaigns in American history. 

“It’s up to you” is a $33.5 million national effort in partnership with COVID Collaborative and backed by more than 300 major brands, community organizations, faith leaders and medical experts. Participating partners include: Adobe, Black Information Network, Facebook, Google/YouTube, iHeartMedia, John Leguizamo, NAACP, NBCUniversal, Pandora/SiriusXM/SoundCloud, Telemundo, UnidosUS and ViacomCBS, actress Angela Bassett, actor John Leguizamo and CNN medical reporter Sanjay Gupta.

As vaccines become more widely available to Americans, vaccine hesitancy remains high. According to Ipsos Public Affairs, about 40% of people in the U.S. haven’t decided whether they will get vaccinated. 

Like many of the impacts of the pandemic, the issue is acute in Black and Hispanic communities. Just 40% of Black and Hispanic individuals feel confident they have enough information to get the COVID vaccine — a contrast from 60% of the overall population. That’s a glaring statistic for two communities with a history of distrust in the medical community. 

The campaign, called “It’s Up to You,” was created in collaboration with the CDC. Creative agencies Pereira O’Dell and BeenThereDoneThat developed the creative, which takes an empathetic tone by sending the message that vaccines are the way we can get back to having the moments we all miss.

A specific effort to reach Hispanic audiences called “De Ti Depende,” was led by culture consultancy Alma, and JOY Collective, a Black and woman-owned agency, crafted specific messaging for Black communities.

Both strategies make an effort to reach out to these communities through religious organizations. JOY Collective worked with Values Partnerships to establish a National Faith Steering Committee with organizations including the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition and influential faith leaders like Bishop T. D. Jakes. 

The agencies also created a PSA centered around the Black church. The spot, which features faith leaders, encourages people to get the vaccine so they can get back to “live worship experiences, serving others and connecting with one another in person as soon as we can.” The initiative also includes a national vaccine education event for Black and Hispanic faith communities on March 9.

All ads instruct people to visit ( in Spanish), for more information on the vaccine. The campaign will roll out nationally with a media strategy developed by Dentsu Health that includes broadcast TV, digital, radio and social media, 

Ad Council raced against the clock to produce this campaign as vaccine distribution ramped up in the U.S.

“We know that people are hesitant right now while they're waiting for their turn in line [for the vaccine],” said Michelle Hillman, chief campaign development Officer of the Ad Council. “We created a campaign coordinated enough so that people could use their megaphone with their own audiences and customize it. But, it’s a unifying message that will hopefully drive them to get more information.”

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