Vaccine Marketing Pivots to Younger Audiences

Trina Stroedecke
Technology Section Editor

For a virus that has been around for less than half a decade, the marketing to receive the vaccine for COVID-19 had grown immensely since the first days of it going public. The newest target audience? Kids. Pfizer vaccinations are now available for children 12 and over, and of course the more children vaccinated, the better. The FDA has also approved this vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in people aged 16 and older. While many children and their parents may be hesitant when it comes to receiving a vaccination, through new marketing, the CDC and WHO are encouraging all children to get immunized.

We Can Do This, a COVID-19 Public Education Campaign Initiative, has been publishing advertisements, videos, and online resources for parents to increase their confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and reinforce the idea of younger children getting vaccinated.

One vaccine advertising tactics is the use of superheroes that portrays both the child and parents as being “super-powered” after getting a vaccine (Photo courtesy of American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP))

One such television advertisement for parents and students explains how returning to in-person school before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is less safe and describes the different COVID-19 vaccines and how they are highly effective against the Delta variant of the virus. A new television advertisement portrays two parents transforming into superhero clothing and flying after taking their children to get vaccinated. During the transformation, a voiceover of a woman states “Getting your children caught up on all of their immunizations is one of the most powerful things you can do, this is a superhero moment.” This advertisement is not exclusive toward COVID-19 vaccines, but toward all childhood immunizations. Using themes that are common in the realm of adolescents like superheroes and back to school campaigns, these vaccine ads spread information about a somewhat scary virus in a positive and easily understood format.

Over the course of the last two years, children’s shows such as Sesame Street have also presented information about how to stay safe in a child-friendly format. Some segments that have been produced are handwashing and social distancing, mask wearing, and staying safe when going back to school. Nickelodeon also hosted a “#KidsTogether Town Hall” which was an hour-long special geared toward middle-school age kids to increase their knowledge and understanding of the pandemic and how to stay safe through social-distancing and vaccinations. This town hall event special was hosted by Kristen Bell and included guests who called in virtually from all over the country, including surgeon generals, former and current Nickelodeon stars, and popular TikTok and YouTube creators. The involvement of top talent and major producers of children’s entertainment have increased the scale and reach of COVID-19 education. While the pandemic is not over, vaccination approval for younger audiences is a welcoming sign that vaccine ads, with their pivot to younger audiences, hope to capitalize on.


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