vaccine ad eval header-01

How to develop effective COVID-19 vaccine messaging

How do you convince someone to take the COVID vaccine? Do you appeal to their intellect or their emotions? Who are trusted sources of information? Where do people get their information? We surveyed 1000 consumers in the US & UK to answer these questions.

positive views of videos


We tested five videos, with the overall positive impression high, 72% in the US and 81% in the UK; mirroring overall willingness to get the vaccine. See results from our monthly COVID tracker study. Digging deeper, we begin to uncover the do's and don'ts of an effective vaccine ad. 


The What

The message content must be clear, and help people feel informed. Too much information causes confusion, and not enough scientific information or specificity performs poorly.


Video Clips & Reactions 

Clear & Informative - Where to go

πŸ‘Œ Positive
Clear & Informative Messaging
Example: Alliance on Aging

Information Overload

βš”οΈ Polarizing
Information Overload
Example: Moderna Vaccine

not specific to C19

πŸ‘Ž Negative
Not COVID-19 specific enough
Example: Fauci: The Importance of Vaccines

no scientific info

πŸ‘Ž Negative
Not enough scientific information
Example: CVS Health


The How

The tone of the message affects perception; an emotional or inspirational tone engages viewers, but it needs to also deliver information. Using Blobs a projective technique, consumers articulated thoughts and emotions after viewing the ads.



Example: Alliance on Aging

TB 1 circle

β€œUplifting. Positive. Many different varieties of people, age, race, sex taking the vaccine.”

               Female, 25, UK

TB not happy circle

β€œFrustration at the lack of details to get the vaccine and lack of explanation of costs especially for those with no insurance.”

                 Male, 57, US

CVS Health

Example: CVS Health

TB 3 circle

β€œIt gives you hope that the end of the tunnel is within reach. There is reason to have hope and to stay holding on to that hope.”

                 Female, 68, US

TB scared circle

β€œIt’s basically saying you have to get the vaccine in order to hug your family members or see them. They use scare tactics. I’m not a fan!”

                    Female, 35, US

The Who or Where?

Celebrities aren't viewed as trusted sources, and social media isn't a trusted avenue for vaccine information. People trust people more than institutions (e.g., pharmacists more than pharmacy chains & HCPs more than hospitals). Beware of polarizing personalities.

Trusted Sources 

trusted sources v2

Considerations Going Forward

Striking a balance between information and inspiration is the key takeaway. However, more work needs to be done as we found the ads did not change the opinions of those unwilling to get the vaccine. 


educate connectKeep It Simple
Clearly communicate information, without overloading them with too many details

Teach them something new & helpful. They want to be informed

connect Connect
Emotional & inspirational tone can engage, but it can't do all the work

drBank on Reliability
Consider who and where your messaging will be delivered for high impact

Feeling inspired?

Learn more about how to improve your messaging