In March 2021, a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the ONE Campaign launched Pandemica — an animated series of spots depicting the need for fair global vaccine access to end the pandemic.
Welcome to Pandemica — a world where fair access to COVID-19 vaccines isn’t prioritized and the pandemic goes on forever. The ONE Campaign launched the Pandemica series in March 2021 to raise awareness through animation and humor about the need for global vaccine access. The message at the core? “If the vaccine isn’t everywhere, this pandemic isn’t going anywhere.”
Pandemica is the creative brainchild of the ONE Campaign, a movement to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, and hive, a social impact company. The seven videos — adapted into seven languages and featuring voice-overs from global celebrities for a total of 107 videos — raise awareness for fair global vaccine access to end the pandemic. The fastest way to end the COVID-19 pandemic is to ensure vaccines are available to everyone, everywhere.
The genesis behind this massive creative undertaking dates back to August 2020. In order to cut through all the noise and pandemic fatigue, as well as impact the narrative around COVID-19, the creative forces at ONE and hive knew we needed something unique. Ultimately, ONE developed animated content featuring globally recognized talent to raise awareness about the history and consequences of vaccine inequality, the need for COVID-19 vaccines to reach everyone, and how vaccine access relates to ONE’s mission to tackle extreme poverty.
Launching in March 2021 with, “Island Nation,” and an exclusive trailer in The Hollywood Reporter, Pandemica featured illustrations by the artist Andrew Rae, animation by Titmouse, music & sound design by father, and voice-overs from familiar voices like ONE’s co-founder Bono, Penélope Cruz, David Oyelowo, and more talent across Germany, Canada, France, Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria, and beyond. Each video and supplemental piece of content — including quote graphics, stat graphics, and blogs — was accompanied by a link to ONE’s Pandemica landing page and a petition urging world governments and pharmaceutical companies to come together to fight COVID-19.
As the pandemic continues to impact the world and as global vaccine distribution continues to be unequal, Pandemica’s message is highly relevant — the video “COVID-20” portrays a new variant waiting for the spotlight — and increasingly urgent as new variants of COVID-19 continue to emerge in the wake of global vaccine inequity.
What ONE achieved
Overall, Pandemica was successful in raising awareness of vaccine inequality, especially among our target audience of Gen Z, or those born after 1997.
Pandemica earned significant media buzz (more than 800 stories) while the campaign ran from March 2021 through mid-April 2021, which consistently reinforced vaccine access messages and linked to the animations. Numerous international media outlets with a range of audiences picked up the series, including Rolling Stone, USA Today, Toronto Star, The Independent, France 24, All Africa, and more. Discovery+, Vox, Buzzfeed, Viacom, Banijay, Trace Media, and the Wall Street Journal generously partnered with ONE to distribute the series, which helped garner 8 billion media impressions.
We leaned into our global presence and found ways to tailor our content to specific markets, which was key to amplifying the campaign’s reach. The videos were translated into seven languages and featured local talent, which helped us engage with a wider audience and form new partnerships. Penélope Cruz, Michael Sheen, David Oyelowo, German comedians Michael Mittermeier and Carolin Kebekus, Nigerian artist Seyi Awolowo, French actor Samuel Arnold, and many more around the world shared Pandemica with their followers, helping spread our message on vaccine inequality.
Most crucially, Pandemica kickstarted the vaccine equity conversation.
ONE was also able to widen its audience reach, and target and educate an even younger audience through Pandemica. One way we achieved this was by promoting the videos on Snapchat, where 76% of users are under the age of 34. The series was even picked up by publications with younger audiences, like LIT Entertainment News and Just Jared Jr.
Most crucially, Pandemica kickstarted the vaccine equity conversation. Over the past few months, stories about vaccine equity and the lingering socioeconomic effects of vaccine inequity have dominated the news. Long before there was constant coverage of variants and booster shots, Pandemica used clever animations and satirical humor to illustrate the consequences of a world without equal access to vaccines, resonating with audiences at a key moment – one year into the COVID-19 pandemic.
That key moment came as media outlets marked a full year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and just as conversations about vaccine distribution were beginning to take hold. Pandemica launched on the cusp of the COVID vaccine narrative, explaining why prioritizing fair and equal access to vaccines is necessary to end the pandemic instead of prolonging it. The series will continue to remain relevant as the pandemic continues.
What’s next and recommendations for the future
Through this project, the ONE Campaign learned a lot about different ways in which the organization can experiment with content and reach existing and new audiences. Using humor here was key to get our message across. Pandemica stood out among all the serious and heavy coverage of the pandemic. Juxtaposing humor with a serious message was a way to draw in audiences while still communicating the importance of vaccine equity.
We will continue to experiment with different types of content and to push the creative envelope in order to reach new audiences and markets, spread awareness, and increase our social media presence. And we’ll continue to use our content to break through cluttered conversations to ensure we’re being heard.
In the future, we’ll continue to foster and bolster our presence across different markets, and continue to develop our new and existing partnerships.