By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

September 21, 2021 | 7 min read

With one in four eligible Americans still unvaccinated against Covid — and the Delta variant wreaking havoc worldwide — Ad Council and Covid Collaborative have partnered up to create a handful of new PSAs designed to inspire young people and parents to get the vaccine.

Ad Council has teamed with Covid Collaborative, a national assembly of health, education and economic experts, to create a series of PSAs meant to encourage young adults and parents to get vaccinated by instilling confidence in the effectiveness of the vaccines.

Data from the Ad Council suggests that approximately one in five young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 — as well as one in five parents of children aged 12 to 17 — are still on the fence or undecided about getting vaccinated and getting their kids vaccinated, respectively. Compared to the one in ten of the total adult population who remain vaccine-hesitant, this data suggests that young people and parents are at higher risk for being unvaccinated and may face unique barriers to vaccine access.

In particular, the research revealed that undecided young adults are looking for clarity concerning long-term side effects of the vaccines and are most receptive to influence by family and friends. Parents on the other hand are seeking evidence and advice that the benefits of vaccination can mitigate the risk of infection and see health care providers and pediatricians as the most trusted sources on these issues.

The Ad Council and Covid Collaborative took this information to help instill confidence in vaccines among these demographics. They enlisted the help of creative agency Deutsch LA to create an educational PSA to motivate young Americans ages 18 to 24 to get vaccinated. Plus, they tapped creatives at Saatchi & Saatchi and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to create similar PSAs for parents with children between 12 and 17, designed to empower parents to make well-informed decisions about the vaccines for themselves and their families. The multipronged initiative seeks to put to rest any remaining doubts that young people or parents may have about the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines.

“We’ve made great strides in the US when it comes to increasing the number of people who have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19 — but our work is far from over, especially when it comes to young adults and parents of kids 12 to 17," Ad Council's chief campaign development officer Heidi Arthur tells The Drum. "These populations are twice as hesitant to get vaccinated or have their children vaccinated than the total adult population. While more children, teens and young adults are back to in-person learning and events as Delta sweeps the nation, it’s more important than ever to deliver compelling and empathetic messaging that builds confidence in the vaccines. We’re so grateful to our partners at Deutsch LA, Saatchi & Saatchi, AAP, COVID Collaborative for working with us to inspire more Americans to get the facts about the vaccines and help slow the pandemic.”

Two people chatting in chairs

The PSA developed by Deutsch LA depicts pairs of people who care about one another — but disagree — discussing their differing viewpoints regarding the Covid vaccine with empathy and understanding. The film concludes with the tagline: “Let’s make an informed decision. Together.” Viewers are directed to to get more information about the effectiveness of the vaccine and to access a conversation guide for speaking with friends and family who may have differing opinions about vaccines.

“This subject is so polarizing, and it seems like we can’t actually listen or hear one another. We didn't want to create something that was just more fuel for argument culture. This film was born from the idea of: What if the vaccine conversation started from a place of love and empathy?," says Diego de la Maza, executive vice president and head of production at Deutsch LA. "From the beginning, we knew this film couldn't be a scripted after-school special that was just telling people to do something. Not only does that approach create a confrontational tone, but our young audience is so incredibly savvy, that they would have dismissed it...This had to be real people having real conversations. We needed our audience to relate to these stories and see a part of themselves in our people. This type of message has to have that human connection point to our audience."

de la Maza says that bring together real people having real conversations led to "some heated moments on set," but that ultimately, these discussions were "grounded in love." As a result, he says the team is pleased with where it landed. "The outcome is a compilation of authentic personal moments that highlight the importance of arming yourself with the facts and making a decision that’s right for you and your loved ones.”

In the parent-focused PSAs created by Saatchi & Saatchi in conjunction with AAP, the spots employ parents’ own videos of their children experiencing pre-pandemic joy to highlight how much children’s lives have been impacted by Covid restrictions, social distancing regulations, at-home schooling and more. The PSA explains that the sooner children are vaccinated, the sooner they can get back to having fun, sociable lives. Viewers are encouraged to talk to their pediatrician or health care provider and check out for more information.

As an extension of the parent-focused campaign, a series of out of home (OOH) and digital ads were designed by artists in partnership with Adobe. To support the entire campaign, a number of major media outlets including Bustle Digital Group, Comcast NBCUniversal, Facebook, FOX, Google/YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, TikTok, Vice Media Group, WarnerMedia and others, are donating ad time and space on their platforms to showcase the PSAs. Plus, a number of celebrity influencers ranging from Alyssa Milano and Alan Cumming to John Lutz, Kellie Martin and Dr. Joe Park, are supporting the campaign with messages from their own channels.

The PSA campaign was developed as part of the Ad Council and Covid Collaborative’s Covid-19 Vaccine Education Initiative “It’s Up To You,” created by Pereira O’Dell, which launched earlier this year. Thus far, the initiative has received $200m in publicity and media support across many channels. The platform includes assets developed by a variety of partners, including Alma, iHeartMedia, JOY Collective, Group SJR, Values Partnerships and more. “It’s Up To You” spots have generated more than nine million visits to, with nearly 60% of visitors reporting they left the site feeling more confident about getting vaccinated.

“Young adults and parents who are still hesitant about the vaccines need to be engaged with the latest information and compelling messaging to help make decisions to protect themselves and their children against COVID-19,” John Bridgeland, cofounder and chief executive of the Covid Collaborative said in a statement. “This creative campaign will inspire young adults to take action and build on a long tradition of parents engaging with their pediatricians to protect their children from disease.”

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