Confluence Of Flu, COVID-19 Fuels Brand Campaigns

CVS Health is looking to fill 15,000 jobs—most of them licensed pharmacy technicians—as it ramps up for the nexus of COVID-19 and the flu season.

Among other duties, pharmacy technicians administer COVID-19 tests at more than 4,000 of the company’s drive-through testing sites.

“Additional team members typically are needed every flu season,” Lisa Bisaccia, chief human resources officer at CVS Health, said in a statement today. “However, we’re estimating a much greater need for trained pharmacy technicians this year given the continued presence of COVID-19 in our communities.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 49% of the U.S. population chose to get a vaccine during the 2018-2019 flu season. Recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60%. In a presentation last month, the CDC cited an estimated vaccine effectiveness of 29% in a season that saw 4.4 million flu illnesses and 3,500 deaths.



Theraflu has launched a "Fighting Flu Together" campaign encouraging people to get flu shots and providing information on the brand’s website to help locate flu shot providers.

One goal of the campaign is to raise awareness in the Black and Latinx communities, which are underserved when it comes to vaccination efforts, according to Tamara Savitz, brand manager for Theraflu U.S.

“We’ve seen in a lot of statistical data that Black and Latinx Americans are under-resourced with the flu vaccination drive,” Savitz tells Marketing Daily. “The biggest is the misconception and education around flu shots.”

“Then there are some deeply rooted cultural issues—more prominent in Black American society—around health and distrust of the healthcare system from the past.”

Theraflu is using paid and organic ads and content on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, along with a partnership with BET at the end of October.

In addition, Theraflu is working with four Black and Latinx influencers who are giving away “sick kits” containing Theraflu products and their own preferred remedies.

Personal care brand Genexa, which markets itself as "the first clean medicine company," is using the cold and flu season to incentivize people to “Ditch The Dirty” items from their medicine cabinets—a reference to artificial ingredients and fillers.

A campaign spot from the Co:Collective agency uses text and voiceover to pose the question “Ever wonder what’s actually in your medicine bottles?” accompanied by images of ailing kids and adults.

“Sure, there are the ingredients that help you when you’re sick. But what about the rest? Turns out, most medicine is filled with artificial ingredients we don’t need.”

Examples include artificial dyes, lactose, talc “and other words we can’t pronounce.”

For the next two weeks or until 5,000 products are given away, consumers who engage with the campaign via the Genexa website can get a free company product of their choice. Genexa markets OTC products like cough, cold and allergy remedies.

“There has been fantastic traction so far,” Genexa CMO Kelli Lane tells Marketing Daily, noting that initial metrics show a 3X increase of direct traffic to the website.

While the CDC does not say that wearing surgical masks can prevent flu infection, it does recommend their use by healthcare personnel who are within six feet of a suspected or laboratory-confirmed influenza patient.

On a lighter note, Hormel Foods’ Black Label is giving away a bacon-scented mask via its website until Oct. 28 to randomly selected people while donating one meal to Feeding America for every website entry—up to 10,000 meals total.

A campaign spot from BBDO running on digital channels for Hormel’s “Breathable Bacon” campaign opens with an image of bacon sizzling in a pan, then moves to a dark mask festooned with chunks of bacon and the Black Label logo.

Superimposed text in the commercial explains “It’s not a mask. It’s a bacon scented, irresistibly breathable, two-ply, multi-fiber smellicious innovation for your face.”

The scenting process is similar to that of scratch-and-sniff, according to Hormel senior brand manager Nick Schweitzer.

“We tested out some different bacon inks and printed that on one part of the back of the face mask. That gives it the bacon scent,” Schweitzer tells Marketing Daily. “We know the CDC has been very public that masks do help, and we want to make sure that we’re following those same protocols.”

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