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Department of the Premier and Cabinet

In 2022, South Australians had become complacent with COVID-19 vaccinations. Although 90% were double vaccinated, just 60% of these had followed through with a Booster shot. With case numbers on the rise, our aim was to address this complacency by showing the real stories behind the daily case numbers.

  • In this case study
  • Advertising
  • Graphic Design
  • Digital
  • Film + Photography
  • Digital Marketing
  • Strategy
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Changing the language around vaccinations.

Research showed that many people perceived the initial COVID-19 double dose vaccination as ‘fully vaxxed’. They saw the Booster as merely a top up and far less important than the original course. Two years into the pandemic, many South Australians also had their own lived experiences with the virus, and for the vast majority it wasn’t as scary as first thought. Combined, these perceptions led to complacency around the Booster shot.

We realised that only by changing perceptions would we change behaviour. This led us to reframe the language around the vaccinations. Instead of a ‘Booster', we referenced a ‘Third Shot’. We also made it clear that anyone who was double vaxxed was not, in fact, ‘fully vaxxed’.

Real people, real stories.

At the time of the campaign, there were upwards of 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 being reported in South Australia every day. But the daily case number was just that. A number. Numbers are a useful, clear and efficient way to summarise the impact of a pandemic, but the human brain simply isn't good at comprehending them. By abstracting deaths into a daily case number, it’s easy to forget that every single numerical increase represents an entire life.

We looked beyond the daily case number, and shared the "Faces Behind the Cases" — the real, harrowing stories of fellow South Australians' experiences with COVID-19, and used these as a powerful campaign platform to turn complacency into action.

Spreading the message.

These stories were supported by pleas from health professionals, including an Intensive Care Doctor from the Royal Adelaide Hospital, who reinforced the campaign's simple messaging: “Double vaxxed isn’t fully vaxxed.”

To help stop the spread of the virus, we spread our message right across the state. As the campaign targeted almost every South Australian, stories appeared across an extensive list of paid media channels, including TV, radio, outdoor, print, ambient and digital.

Targeted digital.

The campaign's digital component was granularly targeted, with people of all ages delivered stories told by relatable peers, while those from non-English speaking backgrounds received messages and stories in their language.

Closing the complacency gap.

The campaign —and the harrowing stories behind it— quickly became a national news story, with the campaign’s message reaching an audience of 5 million within 3 days of its launch. Most importantly, there was an immediate increase in both consumer understanding of the importance of the "Third Shot", and in the number of South Australians who rolled up their sleeve to have one.

The campaign subsequently won an AADC Award for casting, highlighting the work we did to scour South Australia for the campaign's real faces and stories.