Tear-jerker ads can be tricky when it comes to encouraging behavioral changes, but it appears that Google nailed it with its latest news about the COVID-19 vaccine and a possible return to normality. First aired during the NCAA’s Final Four game this weekend, the one-minute commercial is a reminder of what the “new normal” has been in the past twelve months or so.
It is, of course, a reflection on meeting points and virtual meetings, social distance, closed deals and, in general, the commitments and sacrifices that people and companies made to resist the pandemic. As with Google’s best commercials, it is delivered with the same simplicity as the search product itself.
After these reminders, there is a message on how this normality can be achieved again. Obviously, it is the COVID-19 vaccines, with Google preparing a special results page with specific information about the current status of immunizations. There are details on where you can find the vaccine nearby, what are the qualifying factors in your area and what side effects you can expect after the injection.
It also includes a vaccine map and an overview of the latest data. In the US, according to the latest figures at the time of publication, that means 165 million doses administered and more than 61 million people fully vaccinated – since most vaccines in use now require two doses before someone is considered “Fully” immunized. That is still less than 19 percent of the total US population, see.
At the time of publication, the ad – which was actually uploaded to Google’s YouTube account more than a week ago – has been viewed more than 7 million times.
Now, I will confess, I did not lose my eyes while watching the Google ad. Maybe it’s because I started knowing that I was going to try to pull my heart strings (although saying that I am someone who is always thrilled watching Sandra Bullock vehicle “The Blind Side”, so clearly I am not totally a robot cold).
However, making a topic personal in order to get a personal answer is a good option. As we saw during the pandemic, attitudes towards the severity of the coronavirus have evolved considerably, in many cases because what initially seemed like a nebulous problem took on a much greater depth when it affected a close family member or friend.
Vaccine delays have been a topic of concern for the US FDA and CDC since progress began to be made on drugs. Skepticism about COVID-19 specifically, and immunization in general, has become more vocal, both in the United States and abroad, and the Food and Drug Administration has been particularly transparent about its processes this time, in an apparent attempt to restrict to at least a little of that reticence.
In mid-March, the Biden administration announced that it had reached its goal of 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in 58 days, well ahead of the original 100-day target. In May, President Biden pledged, there will be enough COVID-19 vaccines for all of the US that are clinically eligible to receive them.