Over the last 12 months, the lives of people all over the world have changed immeasurably because of COVID-19. Lockdowns, quarantines, businesses either closing or being forced to fundamentally change the way they do business, physicians adopting new technology in order to treat patients, and people being isolated from loved ones has left an indelible scar on our society. Due to the trauma the public has sustained since February 2020, the potential for a COVID-19 vaccine was met with optimism for its potential ability to return us back to “normal.” That optimism, however, was tempered by a significant number of questions from the general public and healthcare providers about the vaccines themselves:

  • Is there enough data to prove that the vaccines are safe?  
  • Are there any side effects from receiving the vaccine?
  • What’s the distribution plan for the vaccines?
  • If someone gets the vaccine can they still transmit the virus?
  • Is it still possible to get COVID-19 after being vaccinated?

As the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines began to be distributed toward the end of 2020, it became critical for an independent, third-party voice with DNA driven by science to answer the above questions and encourage confidence in the vaccines. Without such confidence, the “return to normal” that we are all hoping for would be slow. That is where the Ad Council, as part of the COVID Collaborative, and the team at W2O, a part of Real Chemistry, came in to play.

Recognizing that there was a critical information gap, the Ad Council, in partnership with the CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci, developed content, including a video, aimed at informing healthcare providers about the vaccine. But a few critical questions remained. First, what was the perception of the vaccine among healthcare providers? Were they willing to take it immediately upon it being offered? Second, how could the Ad Council distribute this content so healthcare providers could learn more?

 “This is the sort of campaign that healthcare communicators and marketers dream about being a part of.”

Partnering closely with the Ad Council and the COVID Collaborative, W2O developed an integrated, omni-channel campaign across CRM (email), paid media, social media, earned media and owned media. The campaign took the original video with Dr. Fauci and converted it into multiple assets that were distributed across many channels and phased in a way to create a surround-sound of messaging with key points that we wanted healthcare providers to take away. The results from this campaign have been extraordinary:

  • 40 million+ in earned media reach
  • 56,000+ engagements and video views
  • 2 million impressions, and over $250,000 in donated media from publications including MedPage Today, ReachMD, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Healio, Figure1, Skipta, NEJM, POCN and SERMO, which immediately rallied to the cause. 
  • A 15.5% email open rate versus a 9% industry benchmark. Our email content reached over 1.4 million healthcare providers with an over 99% inbox placement. 
  • A 14% increase in the number of healthcare providers willing to get the vaccine.

The campaign achieved its objectives on every measurable level. By successfully engaging our target audience on a large scale with data-driven content, the campaign made a positive impact toward vaccine confidence. I think I speak for all my colleagues at W2O when I say that this campaign wasn’t really about the marketing and communications tactics. When asked to volunteer over the holidays to help build this campaign, everyone raised their hand. This is the sort of campaign that healthcare communicators and marketers dream about being a part of. It is why we come to work every day and do what we do. We strive to make the world a healthier place, and with this partnership with the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative, we did just that. 

To learn more about the COVID Collaborative, visit the site here.