Cannes Lions

It's Up to You Campaign

PEREIRA O'DELL, San Francisco / AD COUNCIL / 2021

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According to the Washington Post, towards the end of 2020 "Willingness to take a vaccine was actually plummeting, sinking to 50 percent by late September from 66 percent in July."

The Ad Council "announced a goal of raising $50 million from businesses and foundations to fund a massive communications effort to get the nation vaccinated.If they pulled it off, it would be the largest public service campaign in the Ad Council’s history.”

"The question of whether to vaccinate sits at the center of America’s deepest sources of discontent: political hatred, racial injustice, institutional mistrust...this marketing blitz had to convince upward of 70 percent of the public — enough to reach herd immunity."

"Against this absurdly challenging backdrop, the Ad Council and its partners embarked on a search for a message — a phrase, really — that a fractured nation could somehow agree on."


“It’s Up To You” is a campaign that is all about choice.

Certainly, vaccine-hesitant Americans felt that they deserved to have the choice when deciding to put a new medication for a new virus in their bodies. They also felt entitled to having that choice be respected by others. And we aimed to respect that belief among those who were pro-vaccine, and those who were anti-vaccine.

The way we encouraged them to get the vaccine was to show them the moments they missed and tell them that now it’s up to you to get back to those moments.

The campaign simply exposes the impact of their choices. Sure, there’s the choice of putting a foreign substance in their body, but there’s also the choice of seeing Grandma again, the choice of being able to go to a concert again, a sporting event, drink a beer with friends, etc


The battle against misinformation is a living & evolving task. So we established a process of constant monitoring of pockets of hesitancy. The behavior of old ones, the rise of new ones.

Messaging has been tested daily to find out the information that causes the biggest impact, and we use our creative structure to craft big emotional messages and digital platforms to feed the audience specific information (i.e. reminding parents that vaccines are free, or telling conservatives they should ask their doctors instead of trusting the media.)


We turned "I'll Be Seeing You’ into the anthem of the campaign so entertainers, tech partners and even brands could remind people of the moments they crave in ways that only they could say while still being part of a unified movement.

Billie Holiday's melancholic version for the story of a grandmother reuniting with grandchildren by the Ad Council

Willie Nelson’s new version for an optimistic take on sports coming back — in partnership with13 major sports leagues.

Top country singers for the return of live music — in partnership with the American Country Music Association.

Sesame Street’s whimsical version for the return of play dates

Frank Sinatra’s version to celebrate the comeback of hugs — in partnership with ABC

Jimmy Durante’s version to invite people to have a beer together — in partnership with Budweiser

This open-source campaign allowed over 300 partners in entertainment and tech to join in.


The idea raised $500 million dollars in donated media and became the largest public service campaign in American history.

It gathered the participation of more than 300 partners in entertainment, news, tech and even four former presidents (Obama, Bush Clinton and Carter who recorded their own commercial to support the cause).

The idea helped the entire marketing ecosystem (brands, publishers and tech) move together, fast and coordinated under the same strategy.

We also have surpassed 1 million visitors to the website ( and know that of people who come to the site with hesitancy, more than 60% are leaving with more confidence based on the answers they are receiving.

Between December 2020 and the point when the vaccines were available for most, hesitation had already dropped 42%.

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