Massive ad campaign launches today about COVID vaccines: "It's up to you"

The Ad Council, a non-profit media organization, is launching a $500M campaign to educate people about the COVID -19 vaccines. It is being described as “one of the largest public education efforts in U.S. history.” The Ad Council is partnering with more than 300 “other trusted messengers.”

Initial reports indicate this is indeed a massive effort, both financially and in terms of corporate participation. The Ad Council issued a statement that the campaign, titled “It’s Up to You”, will run on television, radio, websites, and social media. Its purpose is to educate the general public on the safety and efficacy of vaccines. The mission is to answer questions about COVID vaccines and tell the public, “It’s up to you” to make your own decision based on the information available. The partners listed – a very long list – are mostly liberal but not all and as long as the message gets out without politics infiltrating, it sounds like a noble effort.

The group said the massive push includes participation from more than 300 major brands, media companies, community-based faith leaders, medical experts and “other trusted messengers.”

It listed Adobe, Facebook, Google, YouTube, the NAACP, NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS among its partners, as well as public figures like actor John Leguizamo and doctor and CNN medical reporter Sanjay Gupta.

The first video ad is out on social media. It’s a short 30-second introduction to a website that can answer questions posed by people who are uncertain about receiving a vaccine.

In one of the video ads posted on social media Thursday, the Ad Council tells viewers that it’s “normal” to have questions.

“The fact is the vaccines are safe and effective. They’re going to save lives,” a narrator adds, telling viewers to visit GetVaccineAnswers.org for more information on the safety, approval and distribution of the inoculations.

The ad ends with videos of people gathered maskless at a party and a woman hugging a loved one at an airport, with the narrator of the ad saying, “Getting back to the moments we miss starts with getting informed.”

“It’s up to you,” the narrator adds.

Ironically, if anti-Trump leftists like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had not poo-pooed the vaccines developed thanks to the very successful efforts of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, such a massive education campaign would not be necessary. Both Biden and Harris refused to initially confirm that they would trust a vaccine developed during the Trump administration, allowing purely partisan politics to override scientific achievements. The Party of Science really isn’t, you know. They are just experts at gaslighting when it suits them.

HHS and partners with the Trump administration – Dr. Anthony Fauci, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Chief Scientific Adviser to Operation Warp Speed Dr. Moncef Slaoui – launched a more modest campaign last December as the vaccines were becoming available to encourage people to take it when it was their turn to do so. Their videos explained the vaccine approval process, the history of vaccines eliminating diseases, and how it relates to the coronavirus pandemic. The original cost was a $150,000 ad buy on YouTube. Then HHS planned to spend $250M on a wider education campaign after that. It was meant to prepare Americans for the vaccines’ wider distribution throughout the states.

The push is on because polling shows that about 40% of Americans have not yet decided on receiving the vaccination.

Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council, said in a statement that the group is “listening to America’s top questions, understanding their concerns and working to educate and empower people across the country — particularly communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic — so they can make an informed choice about vaccination for themselves and for their families.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 45.2 million people have already received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of Wednesday, with about 20.6 million already fully inoculated with the required two doses.

The focus is on an empathetic approach, reassuring people that it is understandable to have questions, to hesitate to make a quick decision on the vaccines.

The CDC brand will be seen on select creative assets and, along with HHS, the CDC is providing scientific guidance on all aspects of the campaign. COVID Collaborative is lending insights from its scientific experts to the effort, engaging many members of its collaborative who represent the diversity of the country to help with dissemination, and connecting the campaign to Governors and other leaders in states.

“Public education is a critical component of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic — it is a shared effort to empower people to protect themselves, especially those in disproportionally burdened populations,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky. “Just as we are taking action to address the inequities this pandemic laid bare, we need a concerted approach to bring an end to the pandemic and to leverage the lessons learned during COVID-19 to achieve optimal health for all.”

We’ll see if this campaign moves the needle for that 40% of skeptics. So far, the vaccines have proven to be safe, with very rare reports of strong reactions to the drugs. Operation Warp Speed was Donald Trump’s greatest accomplishment (besides a history-making successful economy) and his legacy. History will show the development of not one but multiple COVID vaccines in such a short amount of time with public-private partnerships were truly remarkable.