Tear jerker advertising can be tricky when it comes to promoting behavior change, but it seems like Google struck a nerve with its latest version of the COVID-19 vaccine and a possible return to normal. The minute-long commercial, which first aired this weekend during the NCAA Final Four game, is a reminder of the “new normal” of the past twelve months.
It’s, of course, a reflection on virtual hangouts and game dates, social distancing, closed business and, more generally, the compromises and sacrifices people and companies have made to survive the pandemic. As with Google’s best commercials, it comes with the same simplicity as the search product itself.
After these memories there is a message on how this normalcy can be achieved again. These are of course COVID-19 vaccinations, for which Google creates a special results page with specific information on the current status of the vaccinations. There will be details on where to go to find the vaccine, what qualifying factors are in your area, and what side effects to expect after the injection.
It also includes a map of vaccinations and an overview of the latest data. In the US, according to the most recent figures at the time of publication, that means 165 million doses have been administered and over 61 million people have been fully vaccinated – as most vaccines currently in use require two doses before someone is considered “fully” immunized. That’s still less than 19 percent of the total US population.
At the time of publication, the ad, which was actually uploaded to Google’s YouTube account more than a week ago, has been viewed over 7 million times.
Now, I’ll confess, I didn’t get bleary-eyed when I looked at the Google ad. Maybe that’s because I let myself know that it would try to tear my heart apart (although I do say that I’m someone who gets emotional all the time when I watch Sandra Bullock’s vehicle “The Blind Side” , so clear that I don’t quite catch a cold robot).
Still, it’s good to personalize a topic to evoke a personal response. As we’ve seen during the pandemic, attitudes about how serious the coronavirus could be has grown significantly, in many cases because what initially seemed like a nebulous problem got much deeper than it was a close family member or one Friend concerned.
Vaccine failures have been an issue of concern to the U.S. FDA and CDC since drug advances were made. Skepticism about both COVID-19 and immunization in general has increased both in the US and abroad, and the Food and Drug Administration has done so particularly transparent about its processes this time in an obvious attempt to contain at least some of that reluctance.
In mid-March, the Biden administration announced that it had achieved its goal of 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in 58 daysway ahead of the original 100-day target. Till MayPresident Biden has pledged that there will be enough COVID-19 vaccines in the US for anyone medically eligible to receive one.