iHeartMedia: How Health Officials Should Advertise the COVID-19 Vaccine

How Health Officials Will Advertise The COVID-19 Vaccine
Health Officials Will Use Marketing to Gain Covid-19 Vaccine Adoption

According to a Gallup poll this month, 42% of U.S. adults said they would not agree to get an FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine. As that impacts any aspirations towards gaining “herd immunity,” the World Health Organization says that at least 60-80% of a population needs to gain immunity first. So at 42% acceptance, that leaves a gap of 20-40%. 

These are the primary objections to the adoption of a covid-19 vaccine.

  • 37% of Americans said they would not get vaccinated because they don’t trust the rushed timeline of vaccine development
  • 26% of Americans simply want to wait and see how others respond to the first doses of the vaccine
  • 12% of Americans generally do not trust vaccines and will not take them even when offered

This is all despite the fact that 9 pharmaceutical companies, including 5 that the CDC has been considering for the US market, were introduced to Stage 3 clinical trials in November with each showing extremely positive results.

Despite this early success, the fact is that marketing a vaccine is a tricky thing. Unlike a therapeutic treatment that offers fairly quick, positive results to an ill person, a preventative vaccine has to be sold to someone that is otherwise healthy. 

So as we move past 2020 and enter 2021, what are some things that big health companies and the next Presidential administration should consider when advertising new preventative measures to the public? 

Health Marketing For Public Acceptance

ln order to gain broad public acceptance, health marketers have to ensure consumer awareness of the risks of COVID-19 and be very clear about the beneficial outcomes of vaccination. In essence, health organizations and stakeholders have to sell the perceived likelihood of infection and the overwhelming value of prevention. This concept applies to any vaccine.

To perceive the benefits of prevention, individuals have to engage in a counterfactual sort of thinking. That is to say: “had I not received a vaccination, then I would have surely caught the ‘rona.”

All of that must be compounded with a perceived seriousness or severity of actually contracting coronavirus. To achieve this in a personal, relatable way health marketers will work with specific types of messaging and themes that speak to risk factors, such as high blood pressure or other specific health ailments, that when paired with COVID-19 may be especially dangerous. 

The message that has to be conveyed requires a combination of convincing the public that “if unvaccinated, then contraction is imminent” and that the illness may be extremely hard to survive or awful to fight. Themes of messaging that support this are often shared through a mixture of radio and television news coverage, traditional television commercials, through the spoken word of health experts, on billboards, and on social media.

Behind the scenes, it is typically governments and supranational organizations that play a key role in architecting these campaigns. These groups aim to work in the best interest of public health to disseminate scientific research, case studies, and educational information that may be used to influence the public’s decision-making. 

Overcoming Risks and Objections

Before health officials can advertise the value of any vaccine, they have to know what objections may persist among their future customers/patients.

We know that today, the biggest objection to the proposed coronavirus vaccines is related to their speed of development. People think that because these vaccines were developed so rapidly, there must be something wrong with them.

The first thing that health officials should be doing is speaking to the history of the science behind the cure. The coronavirus class of viruses has been a topic of scientific research since the 1960s and generally speaking, scientists note that this class of diseases has been more of a nuisance than one of great demise. 

The Scientist - Covid Research Infographic

Infographic Credit: Staff

As the research is published, the drug manufacturers will share 3rd party research with their buyers at the big health systems and work to educate health professionals on the findings. Education and awareness of side effects, long-term effects, and dosing instructions should be made publicly available.  As projections turn into real data, health marketers need to share advertisements that create awareness that sets a proper expectation of benefits versus risks.

Focus on Mitigating Risk and Highlighting Value

At Agency Partner, we have learned that focusing on the customer is the best way to go about sharing a value proposition. Whether you are leading a major corporation or a small business, your future customer is always looking to mitigate their own perceptions of risk before making a purchase decision. Healthcare marketing is a sensitive, often regulatory industry that requires transparency, research, and case studies. 


Give Us a Call Today!

Do you want to revamp your current marketing strategy to survive and thrive during COVID-19? Are you searching for ways to improve how your brand connects with the market? Maybe you’re not trying to sell a vaccine, like most of us, but you really need some help connecting your value proposition with your target market. Whatever the case, you’re on the right website.

Give us a call today at (214) 295-5845 or click here to Get a Free Quote to speak to a member today.

Author: S. Adam Rizzieri
Co-founder & Chief Marketing Officer // Agency Partner Interactive


Parler App Screenshots

Parler Social Network Tops App Store Amid Twitter & Facebook Censorship Complaints

Social Media Marketing News Following #Election2020

The Twitter alternative, Parler, has quickly become the most downloaded app in the United States. Over this past weekend and immediately following the election, app founder John Matze indicated that Parler added 2 million new users in one day and at the same time, quadrupled its daily active users. The app’s owner, Dan Bongino, said that it was adding “thousands of users per minute” on Sunday and they currently have approximately 7.6 million users.

Parler Tops App Store Downloads

Parler styles itself as the “free speech” app and following widespread censorship and aggressive discussion moderation by Facebook and Twitter, amid concerns of election-related misinformation, conservative influencers and political figures are flocking to the social app.

It is currently the #1 free app in the iOS App Store, up from #1,023 on November 2nd. It’s also #1 in the Google Play rankings, up from #486 the previous week.

– The Verge

As a new app, this surge in growth has created some immediate technical issues for users as the company’s technology teams scramble to support more scalability and bandwidth on its servers.

What is Parler?

Parler is often dismissed as the “Twitter for conservatives.” Very truly, it functions a lot like an early model of Twitter so from a technology perspective, it is not all that unique. The thing that makes Parler different is how it moderates discussions. In fact, it expressly states that its purpose is not to referee conversations and make decisions about who or what will be removed or filtered. The only content policy that might yield moderation is when something is “posted by or on behalf of terrorist organizations, child pornography, and copyright violations.”

Parler Leans Right, But It Wants A More Balanced User Base

Despite its conservative tilt, the company is making a strong effort to balance the scale and invite more liberal, left-leaning users to its platform. The company truly wants to facilitate free and fair discussion among and between the entire American political spectrum. To date, it’s challenge has been that the app has so many like-minded users that it has become a bit of an “echo chamber” of discussion and less so a conversation among peers. To try and change this, in June, Parler started offering referral fees to attract liberal influencers to its platform, and at one point, the company told CNBC that it would offer a $20,000 bounty to any liberal pundit with a major following to join the network. Today, notable users include New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senators Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz, and California Congressman Devin Nunes.

Additionally, there are several high-profile influencers that have moved to the app after facing content censorship disputes with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to name a few. Most recently, we have seen strong inclinations to move away from Facebook and Twitter by figures such as Fox News journalist Maria Bartiromo, Judge Jeanine Piro, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. 
Maria Bartiromo Leaves Twitter for Parler Tweet

When Did Parler Start & What’s Next For Them

This social media app was founded in September of 2018 by John Matze and Jared Thomson. The company is based in Henderson, Nevada and as of July 2020, it reported a total of 2.8 million users. The app is stated to be built on “a foundation of respect for privacy and personal data, free speech, free markets, and ethical, transparent corporate policy.”

With big tech CEOs, including the leaders of Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, and Apple taking a lot of heat from US legislators, not only in respect of antitrust concerns but also as things pertain to the FCC’s Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Parler is in an opportune position to grow its user base and to rally around a monetization model. In the near term, the company just has to find a way to keep its growing user base engaged and active on a daily basis.

This Fuels a Bigger Discussion: Section 230

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gives social media platforms a very broad spectrum of protection from the types of content that its users may post to their platforms. It’s like a cloak of immunity from the implications of whatever a user may post to these public forums. That is to say, if you were to post incredibly offensive or factually wrong information to Facebook or Twitter, these social platforms would not be responsible for the repercussions of such a post. For the most part, Section 230 immunities were granted to social platforms as a way to protect them as outlets for free speech. At a high level, this seems totally permissible, but there’s more to it. 

Over the past several years, there has been widespread criticism that the social outlets are making inconsistent, unilateral decisions about the types of content they choose to allow. Critics from the Left say that the social platforms should censor the content on their platforms to prevent hate speech. Critics from the Right indicate that conservative voices are being silenced by content moderators and on a frequent basis, 1st Amendment liberties are being violated.

When First Amendment Platforms Begin to Stifle Free Speech

During the most recent election, Twitter and Facebook have aggressively stepped up their efforts to block and remove content that may be analyzed as “misinformation” or factually incorrect. A lot of this was announced in regard to the threat of foreign interference and the potential for misinformation to spread and influence American voting decisions.

In respect of that, a different level of scrutiny has been directed at the institutions that certify facts from fiction and there is fear among millions that these “fact-checkers” have become compromised. In some cases, legal scholars including Harvard law professor (emeritus) Alan Dershowitz, and George Washington University law professor Johnathan Turley, as well as the New York Post, government officials, and other news sources have been silenced by the fact-checkers at Facebook, Twitter, and Google. With that taking place, these social platforms are showing themselves as active participants in the discussions, taking the role as a referee of conversation. Under that scenario, the argument is that if they are going to choose to get involved and actively censor conversations based on implicit bias, then the current Section 230 immunities are too broad. The protections allow these platforms to block with impunity, whether it be motivated by personal or political reasons, and therefore they stifle free speech instead of furthering it.


Boost App Engagement Because Users Have A Choice

At Agency Partner, we know that to be successful a mobile app requires users to install it first, but then it also needs to leverage marketing to keeps users engaged and active on a daily basis. Often, adoption and engagement are much more of a long-term challenge than quickly acquiring some users. In addition to email automation and paid advertisements, apps utilize influencers and a full mix of marketing tactics to yield greater levels of daily user activity and overall adoption. 

As we watch things unfold between big tech and our legislators, we have to remember that when it comes to downloading apps, there are a lot of options to consider on the App Store and Google Play. If it turns out that Facebook and Twitter see some changes due to anything related to Section 230, the market will always introduce another cool, equally engaging option. Don’t’ forget, when TikTok was threatened with a ban, Instagram rapidly introduced Instagram Reels, which truly replicated the TikTok experience… and let’s not forget about MySpace. The spirit of competition will always introduce innovative, valuable concepts that solve a specific problem for end-users.

Today, we’re seeing that with Parler, and moving forward we should expect the same with every other concept that is out there. 

If you’re a business leader and are looking to navigate some of the unique challenges within the world of social media, app marketing, or digital technology, perhaps we can point you in the right direction. Give us a call today at (214) 295-5845 or click here to Get a Free Quote to speak to a member today.

Author: S. Adam Rizzieri
Co-founder & Chief Marketing Officer // Agency Partner Interactive


GAP Unity Hoodie Tweet

The GAP Unity Tweet Featuring a Red and Blue Hoodie

Marketing Tips and Takeaways for Retailers & Brands

On November 4, the day after voting closed for the US 2020 Election, Gap’s marketing team posted a tweet that was fully intended to promote unity following one of the most divisive political campaigns in recent history.

“The one thing we know, is that together, we. can move forward,”

said the big retailer, also including two emojis: a blue heart and a red heart to represent Democrats and Republicans, respectively.

Without question, this social media post was well-intended and many big brands have social media horror stories.

Unfortunately for the Gap, election night closed without a clear result and as votes are tallied and legal actions are taken to ensure a truly free and fair result, the message was not well received. 

A Likely Scenario

For the most part, major retailers have a process that makes it difficult for them to do anything that isn’t planned.

When it comes to marketing, there are content calendars that are decided and approved, often a month or more in advance of a social post’s publication. There is room for timely posts, however, the nature of most retail marketing messages is seasonal, promotional, and intentional. 

In this case, it is safe to assume that Gap’s marketing team expected to learn of a final, or at least very clear, presidential outcome by Wednesday… the day immediately following the election.

The reality is that mail-in voting and the unique processes and procedures that differ in how voting is managed from one state to the next fully complicated things this year.

Given that both candidates in aggregate attracted the highest voter turnout in history and noting that the turnout has proved to be extremely, almost perfectly equally divided, tensions remain extremely high. 

Gap could not have anticipated this and they likely set-up and triggered this post to automatically publish at least several days in advance.

An Unfortunate Result, Despite Good Intentions

Within minutes of posting, an army of Twitter users launched an offensive, calling the tweet “tone-deaf” among a wave of backlash that spawned from the election chaos. As you can imagine, some tweets were much more civil than others. 
Tweet Gap Unity Backlash

Approximately two hours after the tweet went live, the Gap’s marketing team removed the post, and their spokesperson promptly issued this apology:

“From the start we have been a brand that bridges the gap between individuals, cultures and generations. The intention of our social media post, that featured a red and blue hoodie, was to show the power of unity,” the spokesperson shares. “It was just too soon for this message. We remain optimistic that our country will come together to drive positive change for all.”

The question here is: “did Gap’s team really have anything to apologize for?”

As we sit back and watch the American democratic process play out as it is intended to, why should the Gap feel bad about the reality that we have a system that has processes and procedures to ensure a free and fair transfer of national leadership?

Even as the Trump campaign contests the outcome in several states, they are doing this peacefully and through a legal process: not with guns and brownshirts. In the United States, this is something we celebrate every 2nd and 4th year and we’ve done this for almost 250 years. 


Foreign or Domestic, Is Something Else Fueling The Fire?

For any sensitive message, it’s always good to have a system in place to approve a post before it goes live. That process should measure the temperature of the situation and make a Yes or No decision immediately following that.

In this case, it seems that there was no final check or perhaps, someone misread the room.

An army of Twitter trolls attacked this message of “unity.” The trolls were mostly from users that seemed to either support the Biden campaign or those who simply had nothing positive to say at all. In the extremely heated political and sociological world that Americans live in, there seem to also be foreign influences that use social media to attack and stifle any moves toward American unity.

Domestically, we see this with rioting and threats lead by the Antifa extremist group. Their presence online and in-person is unmistakable as they commonly attack pro-American, unifying messages and institutions whether they come from the political Left or Right.

If that sort of influence is loud enough, whether it be through Twitter bots or actual human users, there isn’t really any sort of positive message that any brand or person could successfully promote.

How To Keep Your Brand Safe

If your brand wants to survive and thrive, the reality is that irrespective of your own politics, if your price and quality are on par and your service or product is convenient, marketing survey data shows that consumers will be happy to buy from you.

While it is true that consumers prefer to buy from those brands that align with their political and ideological beliefs, price and convenience are the biggest motivators.

2020 Consumer Expectations Around the Election
At Agency Partner, we recommend that companies focus on promoting excellence among their quality of product or service, and ensure fair hiring practices, and positive community involvement. These things together will help any brand overcome negativity, whether that negative attention is warranted or unwarranted.

If so, then you’ve come to the right place. Give us a call today at (214) 295-5845 or click here to Get a Free Quote to speak to a member today.

Author: S. Adam Rizzieri
Co-founder & Chief Marketing Officer // Agency Partner Interactive