Getting the moveable middle off the fence

One year into the global vaccination campaign, a new challenge emerged: how to overcome Covid fatigue and lingering fears about the vaccine fueled by disinformation.

Situation: One year into the global vaccination campaign, a new challenge emerged: how to overcome Covid fatigue and lingering fears about the vaccine fueled by disinformation.

Audiences: Illinois residents who Initially skewed towards younger, female, and lower-income. As people got vaccinated and the campaign continued, the persuadable group included more people with a high school education or less, rural residents and Black adults. 

Approach: Research showed the moveable middle was most likely to be moved by people who had experienced COVID themselves. So we created a testimonial campaign tailored by region that featured personal messages from the formerly hesitant speaking directly to the currently hesitant.

Results: Illinois is the vaccination leader of the Midwest and the first state to reach milestones in every age category. From the start of its first vaccination campaign, the size of the Moveable Middle has reduced by 80% to date.

A campaign rooted in research and audience segmentation

This case study covers several phases of a research-driven, integrated campaign for the Illinois Department of Public Health encouraging COVID-19 vaccination to a highly targeted audience.

Soon after the COVID-19 vaccines became available, many Illinoisans were getting vaccinated - but many were not. We launched a campaign to reach Illinoisans who were hesitant about the vaccines, with the goal of convincing them that it was worth it to get one as soon as they are eligible.

The campaigns were deeply rooted in data-driven audience segmentation. We partnered with Civis Analytics to gather strategic data via surveys about Illinoisans' attitudes and motivations around COVID vaccination and mask usage.

Through our work with Civis Analytics, we identified a group of people we termed the 'Moveable Middle.' These folks weren't 100% opposed to receiving a vaccine, but they were wary to be part of the first wave. We also broke down data on vaccination rates, attitudes and motivations by age group, race and geography, as well as by English-speaking and Spanish-speaking communities.

IDPH OTF Campaign Digital Display Banners Shannon 600x600

Getting People Off The Fence

Research showed that leveraging emotional and rational motivations was effective. So we captured real stories from Illinoisans to inspire vaccination in our state, then disseminated these messages through TV, print, digital and grassroots organizing.

Taking a segmented approach, we tailored our message and messengers to resonate with hard-to-reach audiences. Our data indicated that the demographics of the Movable Middle were evolving, so we pivoted our strategy accordingly. When the vaccine initially rolled out, we saw the biggest hesitancy among Black and Brown communities, so we created content and partnered with influencers to target those audiences.

In the following months, our data showed that zip codes in Southern Illinois were among the most hesitant; we therefore developed an earned media strategy to target publications in those areas.

Key Results

Earned Media Impressions

104 million

Movable Middle Reduction


Publicity Value


An Award-Winning Campaign

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) 'On the Fence' campaign was honored with 13 awards and 14 national recognitions, including an Emmy, Addy and the Best Digital Marketing/Advertising Campaign in North America. 

The reaction, the results, and the number of awards shows how powerful campaigns can be when we combine data with meaningful stories. By bringing together our Strategy team with Creative, Digital Marketing, Public Relations and our Videographers - all expertise that TimeZoneOne has in-house - we’re able to create the biggest possible impact for our partners. 

Let's Talk

Do you have a meaningful message that you need to share with the public? Let’s talk.

Let's Talk

Related Case Studies

All Case Studies

140096 bsv 2023 lifestyle porthills bottleview 8164


Creating the Vodka of Tomorrow

When other vodka brands have much larger budgets, how do you communicate points of difference and convince people to buy from a smaller, New Zealand made brand?

Ohope Top 10 Spa

Digital Marketing/ Digital Strategy

Happy Days at Ohope Beach

A popular beach holiday spot, TOP 10 Ohope Beach Holiday Park asked for help lifting their bookings over the quieter winter months.

140096 bsv 2023 lifestyle porthills bottleview 8164

Digital & Development/ Digital Marketing/ Digital Strategy

What vodka can be

We knew Broken Shed couldn't go toe-to-toe with the big brands on a traditional marketing campaign. Good thing our creative teams are resourceful and innovative

All Case Studies