Best Flu Shot Commercial Ever?

Vote for your favorite video

By Dale Dauten, Syndicated Columnist

Here are our eight finalists…

1. This one comes from Tasmania, which we’ll confess to having to look up. (It’s an island that’s part of Australia, home to over half a million people.) What we particularly liked, other than the charming accent, was this line…

“I love my life and don’t want to miss it, so I get the flu shot.


“After all, it’s just a little jab.”

Interesting, that use of “jab” rather than “shot.” That would be a better word choice. (We also heard the term “jab” in a commercial from Scotland that did not make our list of finalists.)

2. The ad from NHS Scotland, the one with the umbrellas, was a pleasure to watch, with all the young kids playing in the rain, and those colorful umbrellas conveyed the lovely image for “protection.” Too subtle or just right?

3. The ad from the CDC had clever but simple animation, and focused narrowly on protecting the family, including the cute line playing on the ad’s line art, “No matter what draws your family together, everyone needs a flu vaccine.”

4. The ad from South Carolina’s DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) was the sole 60-second spot, and it featured a lineup of medical professionals and other citizens. Does it could come across as a primer on flu and flu shots, or perhaps is it too many talking heads offering up too much information?

5. Here we have the first heartbreaker. This one is from the Texas Children’s Hospital with the photos of Emily, the three year-old who died from flu in five days. Emily’s father delivers the tagline, “Prevent what’s preventable,” but the message couldn’t be more stark: your kid can die. Too much?

6. The folks at the Boston Public Health Commission came up with some glorious animation, and with it a rapid demonstration of how flu spreads. It included the line, “When you’re dealing with the flu, what goes around comes around,” and then the tagline, “Get vaccinated for yourself and everyone around you.” Lively, fun and watchable, but did the animation reinforce the message or detract from it?

7/8. Lastly we have a pair of ads from the New York State Department of Health. We included these two even though they aren’t strictly flu shot ads.

The one ad is so simple and so stark – just a mom in the perfectly preserved room of a deceased son, talking about putting his toothbrush away. That thin knife that goes deep. We never learn why the child died, but we get this at the end: “Get your kids all their recommended vaccinations including annual flu shots.”

The other commercial is the State Health Commissioner, a pediatrician, standing in playground. This one is remarkable because it goes right after anti-vaxxers, calling them out for being “one reason we’re seeing more and more of these diseases” while on screen are headlines about measles and others. His closing line on camera is, “I assure you, vaccines are safe and effective. I’m a father. My kids are vaccinated.”

After viewing, please give us your vote and, if you like, your thoughts.

We’ll report back in the next issue.

View and Vote for Your Favorite Advertisement 

“The most powerful element of advertising is the truth.”

-William Bernbach

Everyone who works with immunizations has a truth to share, that thing that they wish that every single person on the planet understood – that immunizations work, that they save lives, and deserve to be recognized as one of the greatest achievements of science.  

And yet, the one vaccination that needs to be repeated every year, the flu vaccine, is the one that is the least reliably effective. So what do you say about the flu vaccine that gets people to take time to go to get the shot? Specifically, what’s that one thing that will motivate them in an advertisement?

Here are some thoughts on effective advertising messages from the greatest fictional ad exec of all time, Don Draper of “Mad Men”:

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK. “

Don Draper in “Mad Men”

A few years back, the folks at STC decided to test flu shot pitches, using participation in company flu shot clinics as the measure of effectiveness. We went in knowing that, when offered a free flu shot, fewer than half of employees could be bothered to walk down the hall and get it. Seeking to up the percentage, we experimented with humor… like this…

and experimented with fear-based pitches, along with those promoting team spirit and with protecting the family. All of them worked and didn’t work, in that no one approach was the silver bullet we’d hoped to discover. But, taken together, they created peer pressure, and that worked – the level of participation nearly doubled in some test offices. Thus, in the words of Don Draper, getting the flu shot meant that you were OK.

Given that it’s flu shot season, we felt it might be helpful to take a look at some flu shots advertising and look for motivational messages we can use. For this exercise, we excluded the commercials from national chains – even though there are some marvelous ads, we figured most of us had seen those. Instead, we searched for what government agencies and healthcare providers had come up with, including from overseas.

After looking at several dozen commercials, we ended up with eight that we think are worth watching and learning from. (All but one is 30 seconds, so it only takes less than five minutes.) If you click below you can see them, and then we hope you’ll vote for the one that you think is best. If you have a minute, we’ll love to know why you chose it.

PDF Version of Article>>

Vax Stats of the Month

America’s First Immunization Influencers

by Bill Davenhall, Geomedicine Analyst, STC Health Analytics (

As a child, your first memory of an immunization experience was likely not a “warm and fuzzy” remembrance, yet your mother most likely encouraged you to be brave!  But there also was a health care professional who recommended to your parents that getting the immunization was important for your long-term health.  For most children today, the best influencer for any immunization comes from at least one or more of the 4.3 million registered health care professionals across the United States.  Likely it was a pediatrician, obstetrician, or family physician, or someone working in their behalf, such as a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or mid-wife.  As a national workforce however, this subset of medical professional is relatively small, yet ultimately responsible for what we know and do about protecting the lives of our children.

 As of July 2019 there were over 4.2 million individuals enumerated in the national health care registration system, a collection of official governmental registries that assures that anyone who submits a claim for reimbursement to any insurance private or governmental organization in the United States is officially and uniquely identified by name, health care practice credentials, and geographical service location(s). Interestingly, out of this large universe of health care professionals, only about 307,000 (7%) will be, what I will call First Immunization Influencers, those folks with the jobs mentioned above.

Some states will have lower densities of First Immunization Influencers than others, but just imagine if more of the remaining 93% of registered health care professionals in any state shared their medical knowledge about the value of immunizations with each expectant parent?  Maybe we would see a dramatic increase in immunization coverage rates.

In 2018, across the U.S. there were 3.9 million babies born among this small but important community of First Immunization Influencers, each with an exceptional opportunity to guide immunization decisions of the parents – perhaps for a child’s lifetime. If every one of these First Immunization Influencers encouraged the parents of just 12 newborns each year, meeting or exceeding national immunization goals might be achieved sooner rather than later. Health care professionals should not under-estimate their influence with parents or believe that reaching 12 expectant mothers a year is beyond their grasp.

The map below illustrates the opportunity for immunization influence by state by showing the number of births per influencer. If you would like to receive a table of the state-by-state data that supports this analysis…

 Request the PDF entitled “First Immunization Influencers by State 2018-2019”.

(The data for this analysis included: US Census Bureau, US CDC’s Wonder System: Natality 2018 Expanded; Scan\US Health Care Professional Integrated Registry Database; STC Health.)