Take Your Best Shot Against the Flu Campaign


According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), concern and anxiety about vaccination is common for all ages. The increase in the number of routine recommended vaccines and concerns around vaccine safety have heightened anxiety for some parents and others. Fear of injections and pain from the needle are often cited as reasons parents, and adults including healthcare personnel, refuse vaccines.  

The CDC promotes the use of varied, simple strategies that health care professionals and parents can use to minimize the stress and discomfort from receiving an injection. Of the strategies listed by the CDC, the first was displaying a positive attitude through facial expressions, body language, and comments.

In 2010, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (BCBSLA) adopted a statewide campaign entitled “Take Your Best Shot Against the Flu” to promote a multi-pronged approach to increase awareness, minimize fear and concern associated with vaccination and improve accessibility to the vaccine.


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Program Overview
Lessons Learned


Program Overview 

In 2009, the H1N1 pandemic resulted in an unusual rise in flu-related illnesses in Louisiana. Symptoms ranged from mild to lethal. The flu vaccine for the 2010 flu season included protection from the H1N1 virus. BCBSLA adopted the “Take Your Best Shot Against the Flu” campaign to 1) increase vaccination rates for influenza from the previous year among the residents of Louisiana, 2) drive awareness of the personal and public impact of the flu and flu-related illnesses and to 3) dispel the fears and myths around of the influenza vaccine.  

BCBSLA collaborated with Jamie Wax, a popular playwright, comedian and Louisiana actor to help market the “Take Your Best Shot Against the Flu” campaign through television and radio commercials and at public events with the mobile van to provide free flu shots to members and non members.   

To address accessibility, BCBSLA sponsored and coordinated, in collaboration with the BCBS Foundation and the American Red Cross, worksite and mobile flu clinics during the 2010 flu season, between October 4 and November 30, 2010.  

An integrated, multi-media advertising campaign was launched to improve awareness of the flu and flu-related illnesses. This campaign included website content, direct mail, TV, radio, outdoor advertising, personal phone reminders, public relations and social media to improve awareness around the flu and flu-related illnesses.

To address fear and anxiety often associated with vaccination, a website for the campaign was started. Consumers were invited to submit a photo with their best facial expression after having received a flu shot. The photos were entered into a contest with daily winners chosen by the public through online voting. Daily prizes included the Apple iPod shuffle and an Apple iPad, as grand prize.  

For the 2011 flu season, BCBSLA incorporated additional interactive contests to maintain consumer enthusiasm in the campaign. An interactive karaoke contest was implemented and consumers submitted a video recording of their best rendition of the campaign jingle. Again, daily prizes included the Apple iPod shuffle and an Apple iPad, as grand prize. 

Flu updates and health and wellness information were also posted on the campaign’s website as additional resources. Among the resources posted were coverage details for flu shots and other preventive services covered by BCBSLA. Materials included a contact list of locations providing flu shots, frequently asked questions about the flu and flu vaccine and access to a 24-hour CDC hotline. 

Plans for revamping the campaign for the 2012 flu season are underway to target members who have yet to receive their first flu shot.  

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BCBSLA’s Flu campaign was evaluated by tracking and analyzing the number of flu shot claims received during since 2009.   

With ongoing monitoring and analysis of the campaign website, BCBSLA discovered that the same level of enthusiasm could not be sustained over time with a photo contest. As a result, BCBSLA added the karaoke video contest for the 2011 flu season. 

Claims data indicates that once a person has received an initial flu shot, he or she is more likely to get a flu shot annually. As a result, BCBSLA will begin targeting its efforts to reach individuals who have never received a flu shot. BCBSLA has begun retooling its campaign accordingly.  

A citywide pilot of the statewide campaign, “Take Your Best Shot Against the Flu”, was implemented in Shreveport, Louisiana following BCBSLA’s statewide campaign. Claims data from the city-wide campaign will be tracked and evaluated.

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BCBSLA experienced a 64 % increase in the number of flu shots administered to members from September 2010 through December 2010 when compared to 2009 data. In total, 118,482 more claims were filed in 2010 for the flu shot than in 2009.  The campaign website received a total of 12,876 unique visitors and 122,413 page views.  

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Lessons Learned 

Let the right data drive your plan  

  • Work with your medical policy and claims teams to spot health trends and concerns through claims data; work with public health resources to understand what motivates this behavior.
  • Use data as a foundation from which to launch your initiative, not as a tool to avoid implementing unique ideas that gain momentum. 

Invest in marketing around wellness programs; the return on investment is real and tangible  

  • The increase in vaccination rates translates into fewer claims for care due to flu or flu-related illnesses and significant cost savings when compared to the cost of treating the flu or flu-related illness.

Work with the legal team to develop campaign and contest rules that best suit your needs.  

  • Work with your legal department to draft contest rules that allow you to choose the entries that best suit your image, brand and message. It will also provide the legal basis to disqualify contestants attempting to abuse the system to win a prize.

Don’t be afraid to use positive, emotional content to change behavior.   

  • Positive, emotional content and incentives make lasting impressions that will help to meet campaign goals and brand image. Historically, scare tactics and pessimism about health are poor motivators for changing behaviors. 

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About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana  

The mission of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is to improve the lives of Louisianans by providing health guidance and affordable access to quality care. BCBSLA has been providing health insurance to the residents of Louisiana since 1934. BCBSLLA works to make Louisiana a place to live well through prevention health and wellness programs, public health grants and health education.  

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Contact Information 

John Maginnis
Vice President, Corporate Communications


Related resources/links to post with profile:  www.shotla.com 

U.S. Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2012. “Vaccine Administration.”  Internet site (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/d/vacc_admin.pdf), downloaded July 5, 2012.