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By John Glenday, Reporter

May 17, 2021 | 3 min read

YouTube is throwing its weight behind the NHS Covid-19 vaccination program by promoting the jab to young people.

Let’s Not Go Back, a campaign featuring 12 videos (and a 26 minute-long PSA), was designed to address hesitancy around vaccine take-up among 16-29-year-olds following Office for National Statistics Data data suggesting that 13% of this group were recalcitrant – double the national average of 7%. Much of this hesitancy has been enabled by the spread of misinformation in the media and tech platforms, which has concerned the government.

We’re all in this together

  • YouTube is harnessing its mass appeal to younger audiences to encourage everyone to be inoculated, preventing a return to the dark days of lockdown when paddling pool triathlons, living room discos and home workouts became a thing.

  • Spanning out of home advertising from May 17 and YouTube from May 24, the campaign has been devised in collaboration with the NHS to remind viewers aged 34 and under that they will soon be eligible for the vaccination programme.

A collaborative first

  • Developed in-house by Google’s Creative Lab and creative production studio Gramafilm, the multi-million-pound campaign encompasses no less than 12 video ads, digital banners, national press and paid social, supported by billboards and public transport advertising.

  • Zoë Clapp, YouTube marketing UK director, said: “YouTube is used by 98% of online 18-34-year-olds, and it is the primary platform for the NHS’s target demographic for their vaccine campaign – so it’s a huge honour for us to be able to collaborate so closely with the NHS at such a critical time, to help young people find the information they need."

Stubbing out misinformation

  • At the heart of the campaign is a determination to dispel misinformation, falsehoods and scare stories propagated on social media by anti-vaxxers by enlisting prominent YouTubers to address their audiences on the issue directly.

  • Among them is Leena Normington, who worked with the NHS Medical director for primary care Dr Nikita Kanani to reimagine health content in a way that is more palatable for her subscribers. She said: “It has become increasingly distressing for my audience to see their friends and family fall prey to misinformation being spread about the vaccine. I wanted to make a dependable resource for them to share with their communities that wasn’t a chore to watch and gave them signposts of where to look to do their research.”

  • To bring its own house in order, YouTube has also added information panels ushering people toward relevant health officials who appear on videos and searches relating to Covid-19 as well as the YouTube homepage.

  • Collectively these interventions have drawn over 400 billion page impressions.

The Drum explored health marketing earlier this year. You can check out our deep-dives here.

Creative Works COVID-19 Work & Wellbeing

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