Immunize Nevada Flu Bugs

Encouraging Nevadans to do shots

In an age of vocal and influential anti-vaxers, our challenge annually is to encourage Nevadans of all ages to get their flu vaccine, both to keep them from getting the flu and to keep them from spreading it to others. Our task has been further complicated by Affordable Care Act funding nuances that reduced the number of flu vaccine clinics, as well as regular reminders from the media about sometimes less-than-favorable flu vaccine effectiveness statistics.

Grossing people out without grossing people out

Fun fact: The flu virus can last up to 24 hours on a surface after leaving its host. Yup, we agree, that’s nasty. While there are plenty of reasons to get a flu vaccine, avoiding getting sick is the most compelling reason for most people. Those who do not typically get an annual vaccination cite as their reason that they never get the flu. But what if the flu virus was all around them, on all the surfaces they touched throughout the day? Would that compel them to protect themselves? We were betting yes.

Using fun, non-threating flu virus “monsters,” viewers were warned of the ubiquity of the flu virus and encouraged to protect themselves in the most effective way possible — by getting a vaccine.

Making the flu go viral (pun intended)

We also used the viral effect (because we love double entendre) of social media to spread awareness of the need for flu vaccines. We created a series of memes, graphics and parodies and shared on Facebook in order to generate conversation about flu vaccine.

Our strategy was a combination of “hijacked” memes (like the Batman and Robin meme, ubiquitous at the time), as well as posts that parodied politics (presidential campaigning for the 2016 election), pop music and pop culture (Star Wars: The Force Awakens was opening that year).

The average reach for posts created for the campaign was 314% greater than the average post on the page.

The Results

Improving vaccination rates, against the odds

A snapshot of data from two recent flu seasons reveals:

  • 6% increase in Washoe County and Clark County flu vaccine rates
  • 2% increase overall statewide
  • 570,000 flu shots administered

Related Work