Campaign Approach to Reaching Latino Audiences

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Overview 

  • Latino or Hispanic individuals, who represent 18.45% of the U.S. population, continue to have a larger share of COVID cases and deaths when compared to their share of the population, even as vaccination rates among Latino populations continue to rise. According to the tracker published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on July 22, 2022, Latino people represent 24.8% of all cases in the United States and 17.3% of all deaths, based on race/ethnicity data available for 65% of cases and 85% of all deaths, respectively. Disparities are widened in some states where death rates for Latino people are higher than for other populations. In California, for example, the death rate for Latino people is 13% higher than the rate for all Californians, and in Texas the death rate for Latino people is 44.7%, whereas their share of the population is 39.6%.
  • Vaccination rates among Latino people continue to improve. According to CDC’s weekly tracker on vaccine demographics, 25% of people who had initiated a first dose in the 2 weeks before July 20, 2022, and 20.8% of all people with at least one dose of the COVID vaccine were Latino. However, Latino people are trailing all other demographic groups in the rate of booster uptake, with only 41.4% of those eligible having received a booster, compared with 55.6% of White eligible-population booster uptake.
  • According to CDC’s weekly tracker of cases based on race/ethnicity, as of January 8, 2022, at the height of the Omicron surge, there were 1,637.7 cases per 100,000 Latino people in the United States—the highest among all groups. The trend continues with 367.1 reported cases per 100,000 on June 25, 2022, during the BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 variant peak, the highest case rate of all race/ethnicities (followed by Black with 229.4 cases per 100,000).
  • Many Latino parents and guardians remain hesitant to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19, particularly for parents of children ages 5 to 11. According to CDC, as of June 30th trends show that about 22% of parents are unsure about COVID vaccines for these children, and nearly a third probably or definitely will not get their children ages 5 to 11 vaccinated.
  • Misinformation has spread on U.S. Spanish-language social media, including on closed messaging apps like WhatsApp. Latino people are 57% more likely than any other group to use social media as a primary source of information about COVID. Additionally, multiple reports indicate that in Facebook’s flagging and removal of vaccine misinformation, posts in Spanish tend to remain up much longer than English-language posts or are never flagged.
  • Strategies for reaching diverse U.S. Hispanic audiences include engaging trusted celebrity influencers whose messages tend to be shared widely among Latino families and friends. Culturally appropriate ads and other Campaign materials were created in Spanish, English, and “Spanglish.” A heavy emphasis is placed on partnerships with organizations that are central to Latino communities and in-language earned media outreach.

Audience Market Research and Testing

A robust and continuous cycle of research drives all Campaign activities, including the approach to Latino 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 ages 18 and older), with findings provided by key demographic groups. Additional research includes audience segmentation and weekly monitoring of news stories, social media, and secondary academic and clinical research. Findings are summarized for use across the Campaign and teams are informed of changes in the audience perceptions and trends.
  • 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  

The Campaign’s approach is based on the premise that messaging must engage the Latino audience culturally, linguistically, and emotionally, taking into account traditions and family values as well as recognizing challenges and sacrifices—as they have been disproportionately affected by COVID—but also tapping into a sense of hope and optimism.

Messaging guidance is based on qualitative and quantitative message testing insights, CDC guidance, expert recommendations of audience-specific creative agencies, environmental scans, credible external research results, social listening, and iterative testing, among other inputs.

Current Campaign messaging centers on encouraging boosters among the highest-risk populations—older adults and those with chronic medical conditions that make poor COVID outcomes more likely. Specifically relevant messages for speaking about boosters to those who are age 50 and older include:

  • During the peak of the Omicron surge, people ages 50 and older were hospitalized with COVID at twice the rate of younger adults, and those ages 65 and older were hospitalized with COVID at 4 times the rate of younger adults.
  • Nine out of 10 people who have died from COVID in the United States have been age 50 or older and three out of four have been age 65 or older.
  • Rates of diabetes and hypertension are higher in the Latino population than among the non-Hispanic White population, and these conditions, as well as cancer or lung, heart, or kidney disease, can make it more likely that people will die from COVID if they get infected.

Campaign research has demonstrated that, across all audiences, messages indicating that vaccines and boosters together protect against the worst outcomes of COVID and that boosters extend protection to keep one safe from emerging variants have generally been the most effective at driving intent to get a booster shot. For the Latino audience specifically, the following messages were shown to be the most effective.

  • If you're unvaccinated, you're 2 times more likely to get COVID, 5 times more likely to need hospital care from it, and 17 times more likely to die from it than people who are vaccinated and boosted.
  • Even mild cases of COVID 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. Boosters give you an extra layer of protection from 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.
  • Long-term effects on your health from vaccines are unlikely. Safety monitoring shows that almost all side effects are mild and occur within 6 weeks of vaccination. Millions of people have received COVID vaccines and boosters without experiencing serious, long-term health effects from the vaccine.

Other Campaign messages continue to encourage parents to vaccinate their eligible children. Research indicates that only one message resonated more than others with Latino parents at driving intent to vaccinate their children:

  • Temporary side effects from vaccines, including COVID vaccines, are common for both adults and children and these effects are generally mild.

In addition to the message above being specifically resonant with Latino parents, Campaign research indicates parent audiences across all populations found messages about the benefits of being vaccinated worked better than those that focused on the risks of children having COVID, with these additional messages the overall top performers:

  • Our children rely on us from day one, and as they grow, we do everything we can to protect them. Help protect your child from severe disease with a safe and effective COVID vaccine.
  • Even though many children have had mild cases of COVID, you can’t predict how COVID will affect your child—even if they are completely healthy. The best protection is vaccination.
  • Decades of research on dozens of vaccines have demonstrated that side effects usually show up within 6 weeks of vaccination. COVID vaccines have been studied and tested for almost 2 years in tens of thousands of adults and children, and serious side effects are very rare.
  • The vaccine offers the best protection available for your child from severe illness or death if they get COVID.
  • COVID has had a tremendous impact on all children. Their lives have been interrupted by the pandemic. COVID vaccines help us keep kids in school and daycare and help them enjoy their lives again.
  • COVID vaccines have worked to help prevent severe disease, including hospitalization and death, against all COVID variants we’ve seen so far.

Partnerships and Outreach

Key Activities and Metrics 

  • Informational Webinars: The Campaign supports webinars for promotores de salud and community-based organizations to empower them with information and resources that they can distribute to their communities. Fourteen webinars have been held, reaching over 1,200 organizations in 35 states through 7,361 trained promotores de salud and community leaders.
  • Virtual Events: Hosted 103 virtual events, a live Q&A called En Confianza, webinars, and information sessions to share Campaign messaging materials in collaboration with trusted community members.
  • In-Person Events: Hosted 475 in-person events where printed Campaign materials have been distributed to community members in COVID hotspots. To date, more than 82,118 people have been reached through health fairs and vaccinations sites, immigration and law clinics, door-knocking and canvassing, civic engagement trainings, holiday food distribution, and cultural celebrations.
  • Testimonials: Collected 66 video testimonials from trusted messengers, including medical professionals, parents, athletes, young adults, middle and high school students, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and Indigenous leaders.
  • Digital Outreach: Conducted mobile outreach efforts via WhatsApp, SMS messaging, health hotlines, and mobile phone banking. Partners have used their mobile networks to distribute digital materials and calls to action (CTA) and to answer questions on vaccines. Over 174,014 messages have been sent to 281,816 recipients.
  • Toolkits: Created and shared 25 communications toolkits in English, with 19 also available in Spanish. These toolkits feature over 299 assets to support and enhance the work of Campaign partners, stakeholders, and COVID-19 Community Corps (CCC) members.
    • The toolkits provide public education messaging customized to specific populations and focus on COVID prevention, slowing the spread, and building vaccine confidence.
    • The public education messaging, available in Spanish and English, uses language that is easily understood and serves the needs of the hardest-to-reach Latino audiences: undocumented/mixed-status households, those with limited English proficiency, low-literacy Spanish speakers, Indigenous-language speaking, LGBTQIA+ identifying, and persons with disabilities.
    • The toolkits are available on the Campaign Partner Website WeCanDoThis.HHS.gov (English) and JuntosSiPodemos.HHS.gov (Spanish). These websites support and enhance the work of Campaign partners, stakeholders, and CCC members. So far, there have been over 901,106 total visits and 1,717,687 total page views on the Spanish-language site alone.
  • Live-Streamed Events: Conducted a series of live-streaming Q&A events with national partners and community organizers who work on issues that impact U.S. Latino audiences.
    • These live events are conducted in Spanish and are made available on La Red Hispana’s Facebook page and partner platforms and are further promoted in earned media.
    • Topics have included immigration, fertility, and COVID vaccines for children. The first nine episodes have generated over 5.4 million impressions.

Key Activities and Metrics

The Campaign is conducting national and local paid media outreach to connect with Latino audiences by injecting our message into community-based and trusted sources that Latino people rely on for local news/information and entertainment.

  • Hyper-targeted paid advertising with in-language Spanish and English messaging across television, radio, print, digital, social, and digital out-of-home (DOOH), addressing the Latino-specific audiences.
  • Targeted native and endemic environments to ensure we reach and connect with Latino audiences in priority markets. o
  • Partnered with local community-based print publications that Latino people trust and rely on for their local news, local information, sports, and entertainment.
  • Extended our radio footprint by adding audio streaming to reach on-the-go Latino audiences that are tuning in and are within our priority markets.
  • Leveraged trusted local media personalities and programming, injecting our messaging and building credibility with Latino audiences.
    • Ran spotlights on COVID ads on Univision’s Despierta America (morning news program), featuring Parents, Booster, and Movable Middle messaging.
    • Secured spots within Telemundo’s Latin American Music Awards (LAMA) that aired on April 21, 2022.
  • Channel strategy and messaging strategy worked side-by-side to ensure we were reaching specific Latino audiences with the right message.
  • Partnerships with minority-owned and operated media publishers like Canela Media, Sabio, Adsmovil, and local radio personalities have given us access to their robust targeting to reach Latino audiences as well as interactive units that perform strongly.
    • Ran dynamic, weather-triggered ads on GumGum and Wunderkind, reminding Latino audiences to wear their extra layer of protection.
    • Canela Music LAMA sponsorship that included audio, digital, and video integrations within one of Canela’s music tentpoles.
    • Adsmovil ran custom high-impact units, leveraging Booster 50+ “The Best Age” messaging.
    • Live reads by local on-air talent delivering messages to Latinos by Latinos that are trusted voices within our communities.
  • Custom Integrations with Latino endemic partners like H Code, the largest Hispanic digital media company, to help deliver messages to Latino audiences in environments that are contextually and culturally relevant.
    • High-impact and highly visible placements across H Code’s Latino premium sites.
  • Added value placements leveraging media investment to increase our reach, frequency, and efficiencies. 

Combined media is pacing to reach over 2.52 billion impressions with 20% of added value bonus media.

Milestones

  • Early in the Campaign, Slow the Spread, including Spanish-language collateral, reinforced basic prevention measures, with ads in radio, newspaper, digital, and social media.
  • Building Vaccine Confidence, the Campaign’s advertising push, included TV, radio, newspaper, digital and social media, and DOOH for this audience, initially focusing on older adults as the group first eligible for the vaccines, then targeting health navigators: the health care decision-makers in families, young adults, and now parents of children eligible for vaccination. Tailored ads to encourage boosters for the vaccinated are also part of the Campaign.
  • Going the Extra Mile, including TV, radio, print, digital, social, and OOH, is showcasing how Latino parents go above and beyond to keep their kids safe and reminds them of the importance of getting their kids vaccinated.
  • The Best Age, currently running on national TV, local radio, print, social, and digital, is a reminder to the 50+ audience that the second half of their journey can be their best half. Media is prioritized to reach the 50+ Latino community.

Earned Media

Key Activities and Metrics

  • The FAQ Campaign features U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spokespersons addressing FAQs that are currently trending on social media and in online searches among U.S. Latino audiences in a digital video and radio series. For example:
    • Materials in both English and Spanish run on La Red Hispana networks and through Campaign digital advertising (PTN).
    • The first and second batch of the FAQ series, which ran from February to August 2021, delivered over 156 million radio impressions on La Red Hispana’s Spanish-language radio affiliate networks. The third and fourth batches, which ran from January 2022 through May 2022, have delivered over 10.8 million digital impressions on La Red Hispana’s Spanish-language digital networks and over 48.8 million radio impressions on the radio affiliate networks.
  • Monthly local/regional media tours have featured 14 Latino physicians as trusted voices delivering vaccine confidence and access messages along with the Campaign CTAs in local and national markets on radio, TV, print, and digital outlets. Efforts to date have resulted in 146 interviews, for a reach of approximately 53.4 million impressions.
    • Radio PSAs featuring clips with 11 Latino physicians from the Latino Media Tours also ran on La Red Hispana networks.
  • During Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), the Campaign developed a “community heroes” campaign and partnered with community leaders on local events as part of its partnership efforts.
    • An HHM earned media campaign featured four local community unsung heroes in a testimonial video and radio PSA sharing their personal experience of getting vaccinated and how their vaccination inspired their movement/initiative to help others get vaccinated.
    • The Campaign promoted these testimonials on La Red Hispana radio affiliates network and social media channels, resulting in over 17 million radio impressions and over 2 million digital impressions.
    • Additionally, we partnered with three different community organizations (Corazón Latino, Latinx Voces, and Latinx History Project), conducting HHM events to cross-promote and include Campaign messaging when appropriate, with a reach of over 66,000 people.
  • For the 6/29 Multicultural Media Briefing, we provided live translation services in Spanish during the event, securing the registration of three major Latino community partners (Corazon Latino, LULAC, and Hispanic Alliance in Georgia) and eight Latino media outlets, including local TV stations. The media briefing resulted in one Latino media placement (Voz de America), a broadcast segment that was also broadcast on social media, garnering over 10,000 impressions and 720,619 impressions on broadcast TV (VOANews).

Trusted Messengers

Latino and Hispanic communities use social media as a primary communication tool to stay connected with family and friends. According to both Nielsen and Forbes, Latino consumers are more likely to share content they consume on social media with their network, thus exponentially increasing the value of Latino influencers—and, more importantly, celebrity influencers, who are considered trusted sources when promoting information on health, beauty, food, and events.

  • Because Dr. Fauci has such a large following in the Latino community, the Campaign arranged for him to appear with Ricky Martin in a taped video aired during the Latin American Music Awards in May 2021. In addition to the 28,000 on-air broadcast impressions for the video, social media greatly expanded its reach for these awards, with 5 million total paid impressions delivered through Twitter contributing to the overall delivery of 92 million impressions, 39,000 organic impressions from the Ricky Martin Foundation (Instagram), and a custom social filter produced for the award show used 20,300 times.
  • Maria Elena Salinas, an Emmy Award-winning Latina journalist, conducted an interview with Dr. Eliseo Perez-Stable for the Immunity in Our Community podcast dedicated to Latino vaccine hesitancy issues.
  • In collaboration with content creation agency, Mom 2.0, we launched a national influencer campaign with high-profile influencer America Ferrera, 31 community influencers, and six digital community networks to connect with parents and promote fact-based awareness around COVID vaccines for children ages 5+ and children under 5.

Additional Efforts in Spanish language

Websites in Spanish

WhatsApp in Spanish

  • The Campaign provides promotion and building content to support a WhatsApp chatbot launched by Facebook and CDC to engage with the Spanish-speaking community by addressing questions about vaccine locations and vaccine information: https://api.whatsapp.com/message/WE4AEYTBTJP2M1.
  • The Campaign supported creation of Facebook social frames in Spanish.

Creative Approach and Sample of Latino Audience Creative

The Campaign’s creative approach is based on the premise that messaging must engage the Latino audience culturally, linguistically, and emotionally, taking into account traditions and family values and recognizing challenges and sacrifices—as they have been disproportionately affected by COVID—but also tapping into a sense of hope and optimism. Here is a sample:

  • Slow the spread (December 2020 - May 2021) - Since polls confirmed a fatigue factor among vulnerable communities and COVID-19 vaccines were not yet widely available to all age groups, the main objective was to reinforce—through digital radio, live radio, and social—the most important protections to slow the spread, not only of the original virus, but also of new variants. By presenting young essential workers as well as families, this wave emphasized vaccination as both a personal and collective responsibility to preserve and restore public health in our communities.
    Slow the spread
  • Un Rayo de esperanza (April - May 2021) - Since Latinos ages 65 and older have been so disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the messaging in Spanish was both emotional and informative, reassuring them that they are appreciated and valuable, that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and that vaccination offers the best protection available for our "abuelos" who are at much greater risk of suffering serious complications from a COVID-19 infection, including hospitalization and death. The ads also sought to address the issue of access, especially for those living in remote areas or those who face language barriers.
    Un Rayo de esperanza 
  • Jack of All Trades (May - June 2021 / October - November 2021) - The COVID-19 pandemic is testing resilience, one of the core values of Hispanic communities. Despite that, the capacity to bounce back remains intact. Latinos of all income and education levels have once again reinvented themselves and become "jacks of all trades."
    Jack of All Trades 
  • Glow Up (August - November 2021) - Latinos are a complex diaspora but have a common thread of traditions and language. Since most Young Adult Latinos were born in the United States, they move in a bilingual and bicultural world. This ad uses the everyday life language, Spanglish, which is also the slang that identifies Young Adults as an eclectic group of digital dwellers, giving them a generational identity and a sense of bonding with their peers.
    Glow Up 
  • The Extra Mile (January 2022 - May 2022) This ad taps into one of the quintessential characteristics of Latino parents: being overprotective. The language and visual elements use humor to showcase how Latino parents go the extra mile to protect their kids, while also highlighting the importance of getting their children vaccinated to protect them from COVID-19.
    Extra Mile

     

  • Extra Layer  (January 2022-May 2022): Sometimes it’s necessary to add an extra layer to protect ourselves from the weather, such as sunscreen, a jacket or an umbrella. A COVID booster is our extra layer that protects us against COVID and the variants of the virus.
    Extra Layer

     

  • Rob Testimonial (March 2022–April 2022): Rob, 22, shares his story about how the long-term effects of COVID have impacted his life and the importance of getting vaccinated.
    Rob Testimonial

     

  • La mejor edad/The Best Age (June 2022–August 2022): This spot taps into the strengths and wisdom of our 50+ population and invites our audience to spend their best age protected by COVID vaccines and boosters, because it's proven that they protect us against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
    Rob Testimonial

     

Contact Us

Please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus for more information on COVID, or visit WeCanDoThis.HHS.gov and click on “Contact Us” for questions about HHS’s work to boost public confidence in vaccines.