COVID-19 Vaccination Ad Trends on TV

How effective are COVID-19 vaccine ads on television? Well, it depends on who you ask — and potentially when you ask them.

iSpot recently worked with CNN to deliver data around various COVID-19 vaccine ads on TV since the start of the year, and uncovered the following:

  • Vaccine TV ad impressions rose quickly to a May peak, declining in June and again in July
  • Top networks for vaccine impressions included NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and Hallmark, with tentpole events like the PGA Tour and NBA games having the most from a show perspective
  • Persuasiveness was all in the eye of the beholder, with self-reported Democrats finding vaccination ads more persuasive on average than self-reported Republicans and Libertarians, or independents and non-voters did (per Ace Metrix Creative Assessment)
  • Data like this shows that vaccination efforts need shifting ad strategies, since initial creatives can be more persuasive with a captive audience anxious to receive the vaccine — and once viewers are vaccinated, they don’t need to be again, so you’re left with more skeptical audiences and a need for a different message

While the Ad Council has been a large part of the overall vaccination ad push, for-profit brands have also been plenty invested in spreading the word on vaccine availability. Included below are some of the top brand creatives around vaccinations this year and how those spots resonated with audiences.

Google – Get Back to What You Love

Google showcases how you can utilize its search engine to “get back to normal,” and that starts with searching for nearby vaccine sites. The ad garnered 5.6% more Attention than the industry-wide norm for the year, and survey respondents indicated it conveyed Information 2.1% better than the norm as well.

FedEx – Moving Forward

“Moving Forward” was to the point about how the brand is a key part of delivering vaccines safely and efficiently, and it was one of a handful of vaccination-related creatives that resonated across political leanings. It earned 13.5% more Attention than the industry-wide norm for the year so far and was 13.4% more Likeable.

Uber – Vaccinate the Block

Spike Lee worked with Uber to “Vaccinate the Block” in an ad that was 8.3% more effective at communicating Change than the norm in 2021 and had 5.5% more Likeability. The Single Best Thing about the spot, according to 33% of survey respondents, was its message around vaccinating all communities.

Walgreens – This is Our Shot 

As a brand that was administering vaccines itself, Walgreens’ ads featured a direct call-to-action leading to its store locations. In doing so, the spot garnered 7% more Attention than the year-to-date norm and was 8.6% more Likeable.

These spots were among the most-seen and the most persuasive from the first-half of the year. But now that the most willing and able are vaccinated, brands wading into COVID-19 vaccination TV advertising will need to position messaging differently than the ads from Google, FedEx, Uber and Walgreens. Video Creative Assessment will continue to be crucial in understanding if vaccine ad messaging is persuading skeptical audiences.