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Brands Give COVID-19 Vaccine a Shot in the Arm

This week in content marketing, we’re talking about powerful campaigns to promote COVID-19 vaccines, canceled Super Bowl ads, and how the inauguration went to the dogs.

The power of why – and authenticity

WHO: Pfizer, BioNTech, and a consortium of medical organizations (through creative agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address)

WHAT: The Because of This campaign uses public service announcements to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Many of the PSAs use homemade videos to illustrate what can be gained if people get the vaccination: the personal connections everyone misses. Examples include a health-care worker greeting his child on the other side of a glass door, a hug between friends, a grandparent playing with a grandchild, and a family finding out about a new arrival.

Mischief told Ad Age it searched social channels and other outlets for appropriate videos then got creators’ permission for the ones they selected.

WHERE: Catch the videos on Pfizer’s YouTube channel, and check out the call to action at

WHY IT MATTERS: Emotion is a powerful tool for conveying a message and motivating people to action. The campaign also offers a great example of how to use authentic content to create a big impact on viewers. The agency could have used actors and professional videographers to create similar scenes, but the emotional impact would have suffered. Most viewers likely have some version of one of these videos on their phones.

It’s also a great reminder of the right way to use other people’s content – get permission.

HOW IT WAS DISCOVERED: CMI’s Monina Wagner learned about it from Morning Brew and found the videos brought tears to her eyes.

New #COVID-19 vaccination campaign from @mischief_usa shows #ContentMarketing with real people in real emotional moments can move audiences – no actors or video pros needed. See why in the #WeeklyWrap via @CMIContent @MoninaW. Share on X

Budweiser switches to a new game

WHO: Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser

WHAT: Anheuser-Busch InBev announced this week it won’t run an ad for its Budweiser brand during the Super Bowl – for the first time in nearly 40 years. Instead, the company will donate the money it would have spent to the Ad Council, an industry coalition that produces PSAs, to promote the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine. (Anheuser-Busch InBev still plans to run ads for its other brands, including Bud Light, during the Super Bowl.)

The company does plan to run a 90-second ad about moments when being together has mattered during the pandemic on digital outlets. The video concludes with a message about one more way to help each other – by getting the vaccine.

 WHERE: This one’s more about where something won’t be – the Super Bowl.

 WHY IT MATTERS: Budweiser is joining a conversation that seems unrelated to beer – the COVID-19 vaccine. And yet, the vaccine could affect Budweiser sales – by enabling people to gather in bars and at parties where beer is offered.

Almost a year into the pandemic, it’s time to ask (again) whether your brand should get involved in the pandemic conversation (even if you decide the answer is no.) As the Budweiser move shows, you don’t need an overt connection to be part of the bigger conversation. (That’s good advice for issues other than the pandemic too.)

Anheuser-Busch’s decision also serves as a reminder that all brands should be evaluating their advertising and marketing budgets. Are you maximizing your investment for the current market? Should you reallocate dollars to better focus on and connect with your audience?

HOW IT WAS DISCOVERED: CMI staff who are fans of football, beer, and Super Bowl ads pointed it out.

A @SuperBowl without a @Budweiserusa ad? @AnheuserBusch’s move is a reminder to reevaluate #ContentMarketing and advertising spend. See where the Budweiser $ is going instead in the #WeeklyWrap via @CMIContent. Share on X

Barking good content

WHO: Delaware Humane Association and Pumpkin Pet Insurance

WHAT: A 22-minute Zoom ceremony, dubbed the “indoguration,” honored Major Biden, the first rescue dog to live in the White House. Hosted by Jill Martin of the Today Show, the virtual event attracted more than 7,400 viewers and raised over $200,000 for the Delaware pet shelter. It also garnered tens of thousands of post-event views and millions of impressions when the invitation went public.

A banner that reads “Celebrate the Indoguration” with an image of a dog named Major Biden sitting at a podium.

WHERE: Watch the Indoguration on Pumpkin Pet Insurance’s YouTube channel.

WHY IT MATTERS: Instead of simply announcing the news (i.e., there’s a shelter dog in the White House for the first time), the humane association and insurance company created a clever content experience – something for people to engage and connect with.

So it’s a bit disappointing to see Pumpkin Pet Insurance (and to some degree, the Delaware Humane Association) miss the opportunity to extend the experience beyond the Indoguration’s conclusion. As of this week, the insurance company makes no mention of the event on its home page. Visitors to the DHA website see a pop-up box with a message thanking everyone who participated in the indoguration. Once users click out on that, though, they see nothing about the event on the website.

Remember, if you create a well-received content event, don’t think of it as a one-day thing. Plan on post-event promotion too.

If you create a well-received #content event, plan on post-event promotion too via @CMIContent @KMoutsos. #WeeklyWrap Share on X

HOW IT WAS DISCOVERED: CMI’s Kim Moutsos, a pet lover, shared the news.

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 Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute