Covid Advertising Update: Out of Home Media is Part of the Solution

“All politics is local,” former House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill used to say. Well, the same premise is true with advertising about COVID vaccines.

Across the country, governments and health authorities are communicating the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Out of home (OOH) ads like the localized transit ad shown here are displaying these important messages because they are precise and effective in reaching  specialized audiences.

The federal government plans to work with community groups to spread the word about vaccines. According to The Wall Street Journal, “The localized campaign’s focus will be built around the slogan “We Can Do This,” relying on messengers from community-based organizations to press the importance of the vaccine, especially in underserved populations, including rural ones.” The Journal added: “The administration plans to work with clergy and hospital associations as well as civic, agricultural and business groups. They will receive grants and resources to promote the vaccine through activities including canvassing, town-hall meetings and local advertising.”

Localized OOH ads are visible in the nation’s Capital, above and below ground.

The Virginia Department of Health also has purchased its own flight of vaccine ads.

From the first days of the pandemic, the OOH industry has helped health authorities communicate with the public through multiple OOH formats (point of sale, transit, place-based, billboards, and more).

Today’s Covid messaging builds on earlier campaigns for plasma donations and promotion of common steps to prevent spread of the virus.

A year ago, when the pandemic hit, out of home media was an immediate partner with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In August of 2020, the nation’s health agency launched a paid multi-media campaign to encourage plasma donations which relied heavily on OOH media.

As eligibility for vaccines expands, I’ll continue to provide updates on how our medium is delivering health messages . . . as part of the solution.

(Anna Bager is president and CEO of the Out of Home Advertising Association of America, OAAA)