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HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department launched a new campaign today created by 9thWonder Agency featuring “avoid the drama” messaging to encourage COVID-19 vaccination among hesitant populations. The fresh approach depicts real scenarios in comedic sketches to combat the misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine and reach the Bayou City’s diverse, younger demographics through a multi-media campaign across broadcast, digital and social media.
“Misinformation and skepticism remain critical barriers to achieving higher COVID-19 vaccination rates in our Houston communities, especially among the younger generations of Houstonians,” said Scott Packard, Houston Health Department Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer. “The campaign takes a different approach, focusing on missed life events rather than life threatening conditions, in order to appeal to those who are less likely to get seriously ill if they contract COVID-19.”
Approximately 66.6 percent of eligible Houstonians are fully vaccinated. Young adults have lower vaccination rates as a group compared to those in the higher age ranges. Only 57.3 percent of adults ages 18-29 are fully vaccinated, while the older age groups range from 72.8 percent of ages 30-39 to 88.5 percent of those that are 60+. Minority populations continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 as well. Data shows that the Latinx community accounts for 50 percent of COVID-19 related deaths in Houston.
“It is vital for us to engage with our target audience in an authentic way by meeting them where they already are and speaking their language,” said Marcus Wesson, 9thWonder Chief Creative Officer. “There has been a plethora of COVID-19 vaccine communication, both nationally and locally in Houston, and our campaign aims to cut through the clutter in order to reach Houstonians who have not yet acted based on previous messaging.”
The new multilingual campaign will span six months of promotion to continue to target those who have not made the decision to get vaccinated. The three TV spots feature dramatizations based on actual events for the unvaccinated: from facing Abuela’s disappoint for missing her birthday to receiving a wedding invite that requires guests to be vaccinated. Viewers are urged to “avoid the drama and get vaccinated today” in response to the scenarios. 9thWonder, a minority-owned, Houston-based media and creative business, filled the actor roles with local Houston talent, furthering the objective of this community awareness initiative. The campaign is complete with complimentary creative across print, radio and social media channels.
“It means so much to me to be a part of a project that encourages the protection of my community,” said Alexandra Szeto-Joe, an actress from the campaign. “It’s my own little way of giving back to the community that gave me so much. In a world where so much is out of my control, it’s easy to feel powerless. But to be able to highlight a serious topic like this in a snappy, humorous and relatable way feels very empowering, and hopefully will empower viewers to take the steps necessary to ensure the safety of their own communities, both large and small.”