Campaign Approach to Reaching Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Audiences

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  • Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the United States, and more than half are born in another country and speak a language other than English at home.
  • Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) audiences are each distinct audiences with different needs.
  • Although aggregated Asian American vaccination data show successful rates relative to other population groups, this community has been hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic, and information regarding the vaccines must be delivered by trusted sources using specific channels in the languages that these audiences speak.
  • For Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, hesitancy is a challenge and vaccination rates are lower among some subsegments.
  • To reach these culturally and geographically diverse populations, the Campaign is deploying a hyperlocal approach to get language-specific, culturally motivating ads to AANHPI audiences. This approach serves as a complement to national advertising that is being pushed into these communities and engagement with community-based partners to reinforce Campaign messages with local trusted messengers.

Audience Market Research and Testing 

A robust and continuous cycle of research drives all Campaign activities, including the approach to reaching AANHPI audiences.  

  • Primary research includes focus groups and interviews, creative testing surveys, and a weekly current events survey (a probability-based survey of 1,000 representative U.S. adults 18 and older), with findings provided by key demographic groups. Additional research includes audience segmentation and monitoring of news stories, social media, and secondary research. Findings are summarized for use across the Campaign.
  • Additional outcome surveys and analysis, along with social listening, enable performance tracking and real-time impact assessment to inform quick adjustments to messaging in a rapidly changing environment.

Key Messages for Audience

Messaging guidance is based on qualitative and quantitative message testing insights, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), expert recommendations of audience-specific creative agencies, environmental scans, credible external research results, social listening, and iterative testing, among other inputs.

Campaign research demonstrated that across all audiences, framing messages that pointed to the severity of COVID and the benefits of the vaccines were generally most effective. Research found that for the AANHPI audience specifically, the below messages, when used together, were most effective at driving intention to vaccinate.

  • COVID-19 can cause severe disease, hospitalization, or death. Vaccines offer you the best protection from the worst outcomes from COVID-19.
  • Vaccines offer you the best protection from COVID-19. If you’re already vaccinated, getting a booster shot when recommended will help ensure your protection continues, including against variants.
  • Children are four times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 if they live in a state with low vaccination rates compared to states with high vaccination rates.
  • The more unvaccinated people there are, the greater the chance COVID-19 has to spread and mutate into more contagious variants that cause severe disease. According to CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are our best defense and are effective against current variants.
  • Even mild cases of COVID-19 have caused damage to the lungs, heart, brain, and many other organs, leading to an increased risk of long-term health problems such as strokes or seizures.

Campaign research did not show any booster messages effective specifically for this audience; however, the following messages were the top performers for all audiences to encourage boosters:

  • COVID can cause severe disease, hospitalization, or death. Vaccines and boosters offer you the best protection from the worst outcomes of COVID.
  • Over time, vaccines may become less effective at preventing COVID. Getting your COVID booster extends your protection and keeps you safer from emerging variants.
  • We’re making progress to move past the pandemic. We know more about the virus than ever before, and we know that if you're vaccinated and boosted, you're 10x less likely to get COVID than if you're unvaccinated. Getting vaccinated and boosted is your best defense against COVID.
  • Just because you had COVID doesn’t mean you can’t get it again. A COVID vaccine and booster are the best way to protect yourself against serious illness, hospitalization, and death.
  • CDC recommends that everyone ages 12 and older who are vaccinated get a COVID booster 5 months after their Pfizer or Moderna vaccination, or 2 months after a Johnson & Johnson vaccination.

Partnerships and Outreach

Key Activities and Metrics to Date

The Campaign engaged 77 community-based partners, including nonprofit and community-based organizations involved in community development, direct social services, coalition building, health care and provision, cultural preservation, and civic engagement.

The Campaign provided AANHPI-language user guide toolkits to help partners and other in-language individuals navigate the website.

Partner organizations serve general AANHPI audiences and 24 AANHPI subsegments: Pan Asian, Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Laotian, Khmer, Cambodian, Thai, Hmong, Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Bangla, Nepali, Samoan, Chamorro, Marshallese, Tongan, Fijian, and Pohnpeian.

Examples of partner activities, which in total have resulted in over 6 million impressions since February 2021, include:

  • National Virtual Events: International Secret Agents hosted a virtual concert event integrating Campaign messaging and calls-to-action or CTAs throughout for over 1 million viewers.
  • In-Person Local Activations: A number of partners have integrated messaging and materials into existing programs that target community centers, businesses, and churches to promote vaccine education.
  • Direct Mailers: Community partners have sent out direct mailers with Campaign information for local Native Hawaiian, Cambodian, and Thai communities.
  • Ongoing Community Services: Local community centers host in-person workshops and food banks as part of regular programming, including Campaign messaging and branding to encourage vaccination and vaccination partnerships with local pharmacies. In-language support is provided in both Vietnamese and Chinese.
  • Phone and Text Banks: Local and national partners, such as APIAVote, have conducted in-language phone and text-banking by contacting individual community members to promote and to provide vaccine appointment support.
  • Social and Digital Engagement: Most partner organizations are leveraging some form of social media platforms or communication via proprietary contact lists to encourage vaccination and to drive traffic to
  • Content Creation: Partners create PSAs or other social media content that include in-language CTAs to get vaccinated by doctors within the AANHPI communities.
  • Cultural Events: Partners have included Campaign messaging during in-person events related to AANHPI-specific holidays and observances.
  • Media Partnerships: Partners have leveraged existing relationships with local media outlets to promote in-culture and in-language We Can Do This messaging to address vaccine hesitancy in the Filipino community.

Other partner-related activities:

  • The Campaign engaged trusted voices among AANHPI audiences to promote messaging and the importance of vaccination alongside event promotion via key partners, including the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the Dear Asian Americans podcast, Gold House, and International Secret Agents.
  • User experience testing improved the experience for in-language callers for seeking a vaccine appointment. Testers called the vaccine language lines to assess the quality of in-language assistance and provided multiple rounds of feedback to increase hotline effectiveness.
  • The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations hosted a briefing for members and the public in December 2021 about the Omicron variant and vaccinating individuals over the age of 12, with over 500 impressions since the live broadcast.

Paid Media

Key Activities and Metrics

The Campaign seeks to unify AANHPI audiences with a common cause while addressing specific needs by subsegments:

  • Comprehensive hyperlocal-to-national paid advertising tailored to reach hesitant AANHPI subpopulations across multiple channels, including TV, print, radio, digital, social, and alternative out-of-home, gaining more than 1.2 billion impressions in 50 Designated Market Areas (DMA) to date.
  • Advertising in more than 500 independently owned local and hyperlocal ethnic media outlets, with more than 30% added value secured and all culturally relevant. Advertisements are in English and AANHPI languages, including Chinese (simplified and traditional, Cantonese and Mandarin), Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Pacific Islander languages, such as Chamorro, Chuukese, Fijian, Marshallese, Palauan, Pohnpeian, Samoan, and Tongan.
  • AANHPI TV ads purchased from 175 local, independent TV outlets in 19 markets.
  • Trusted voices, such as radio DJ personalities, within target markets for more effective messaging and education.


  • Slow the Spread, including tailored AANHPI collateral, reinforced basic prevention measures early in the campaign with ads in English and 14 AANHPI languages.
  • Building Vaccine Confidence, the Campaign’s advertising push, included TV, radio, newspaper, digital and social media for this audience, initially focusing on seniors as the first eligible for vaccinations, then targeting health navigators—the healthcare decision makers in families, young adults, and now parents of children eligible for vaccination. Tailored ads for Boosters are also part of the Campaign. Ads appear in English and 14 AANHPI languages.

Earned Media

Key Activities and Metrics

To date, the Campaign has brought 850 story placements and an impact of 60.8+ million impressions across multiple channels in national, regional, and local AANHPI outlets that have a widespread reach. Key activities that drove this success include:

  • A national press briefing that featured U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Dr. Adelaida Rosario, and 11 AANHPI in-language, in-culture physician spokespeople.
    • Attended by 113 media outlets across multiple languages and multiple channels.
    • Resulted in 170 stories, gaining nearly 14 million impressions.
  • Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month was used as a hook for pitching in May 2021, resulting in 92 story placements with an impact of more than 9 million impressions.
  • Articles prepared for AANHPI media outlets support Campaign goals. Examples of shared releases with press partners include myths about the COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine eligibility of children ages 5 and older, celebrating the holidays safely, and Lunar New Year in the time of COVID.

Creative Development

Audience-Specific Approach

  • Develop insight-driven ideas and communications that reflect AANHPI communities. Our approach is to identify and understand the barriers and the motivators to vaccination—both of which are closely connected to cultural beliefs and thinking—and the conversations about vaccination happening within each respective AANHPI community.
  • Create stories and situations that are authentic and reflect the communities, making the stories more relatable. Our stories and communications connect better when they are delivered by people who remind the audience of their own families and support systems.
  • Use carefully selected and custom-shot visuals in still photography and video footage that are intended to depict the target audience authentically.
  • Include AANHPI community members as on-camera talent as well as on production teams and crews to realistically portray the situations filmed. Conversations with these community members and their family and friends help further refine the approach and enhance community recognition.
  • Engage teams of translators, reviewers, and proofers who provide language certification across all languages to develop and validate copy.

Sample Creative:

  • Slow the Spread: Korean print, Vietnamese digital, Tagalog social (March 2021)

AANHPI Image 1


  • Vaccine eligibility for 65+: Japanese social, NHPI OOH (April 2021)

AANHPI Image 2


  • Vaccine eligibility for 12+: Hindi video, Chinese video, Korean OOH (May 2021)

AANHPI Image 3


  • Parents of eligible children: English Pan-Asian digital, NHPI digital, Chinese social (July 2021)

AANHPI Image 4


  • Partnership toolkits: Sample partnership materials in multiple languages

AANHPI Image 5

Contact Us

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