‘Wild to Mild’: CDC plans new digital flu vaccine campaign

CDC, Wild to Mild Flue Vaccine campaign

‘Wild to Mild’: CDC plans new digital flu vaccine campaign

Next week, the CDC is launching the digital flu vaccine campaign, “Wild to Mild,” ahead of this year’s flu season. This season’s campaign focuses on pregnant people and children because of concerning drops in coverage among those groups in recent years, according to the agency, which used consumer focus groups to better understand knowledge, attitudes and beliefs among these groups of people. 

Currently flu vaccination coverage for pregnant people is down more than 16 percentage points compared to coverage at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and down more than 7 percentage points for children, according to the CDC. 

The “Wild to Mild” campaign visually shows how flu vaccination can ‘tame’ flu’s symptoms from being ‘wild’ to ‘mild’ by showing a ‘scary, wild animal’ juxtaposed against a ‘cute and cuddly animal or stuffed animal.’ 

The CDC conducted consumer testing using several different creative assets. Research participants said they rarely heard that flu vaccine can lessen symptoms/severity. In addition, the agency’s message was well received across parents and pregnant people, as it challenged the belief that flu vaccine is meant to prevent flu and reset expectations around flu vaccine.  

Other CDC research findings were:

  • Most pregnant focus group participants said they were not concerned about flu and even fewer said they were likely to get vaccinated against flu during their pregnancy. They did not perceive flu vaccine as being recommended during pregnancy.  
  • Further, most were unaware that getting a flu vaccine during pregnancy would protect their baby after birth and yet they found that information very motivating.  
  • Among parents, about half said they would get their child vaccinated.  
  • For those who did not plan to vaccinate their child, many said they had concerns about vaccine effectiveness. 

The CDC’s “Wild to Mild” digital campaign will include paid ad placements, organic social media content, and microinfluencer partnerships.