Deutsch LA’s new PSA takes empathetic approach on COVID-19 vaccine
Story By Kamala Kirk | Images courtesy of Deutsch LA
Despite available COVID-19 vaccines, many people – especially those between the ages of 18 and 24 – are hesitant to have them for various reasons, including fear of potential reactions and side effects and personal beliefs.
To help young people make an informed decision based in facts, Playa Vista-based creative agency Deutsch LA recently launched a PSA for nonprofit organization The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s groundbreaking COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative.
“This subject is so polarizing and it seems like we aren’t able to actually listen or hear one another,” says Eric Kaufman, senior vice president, creative director of Steelhead, Deutsch LA’s full-service production company. “We didn’t want to create something that was just more fuel for argument culture. This film was born from the idea of: what if the vaccine conversation started from a place of love and empathy?”
“It’s Up To You” is a provocative and empathetic documentary short film that shows pairs of people, ranging from siblings and couples to friends, participating in real conversations about vaccine hesitancy and the importance of making an informed decision.
“From the beginning, we knew this film couldn’t be a scripted after-school special that was just telling people to go do something,” Kaufman says. “Not only does that approach create a confrontational tone but our young audience is so incredibly savvy that they would have dismissed it. This had to be real people having real conversations. We want our audience to relate to these stories and see a part of themselves in our people.
To encourage young Americans to educate themselves on the facts of the vaccine, Deutsch LA brought together people who know and deeply care about each other – one pro-vaccine and one vaccine-hesitant – and captured their interaction as they discussed their different viewpoints. The idea was to start the conversation from a place of love and mutual respect in a relatable way that allows the audience to see themselves in the people, relationships and stories.
“Working with such an important topic, we knew the aesthetic of the film couldn’t be the same thing you see in every commercial,” Kaufman adds. “We wanted to create a more thoughtful, elevated visual platform to feature these stories. So many small details went into the colors of the set, the mood of the lighting, the camera angles, down to the chairs they sat in – all focused on creating a welcoming, intimate space to capture these very personal, authentic moments.”
Each conversation is different and reframes difficult conversations from a shame-free place of love and empathy. The film’s closing message, “Let’s make an informed decision. Together,” underscores the notion of people coming together to hear each other out with mutual respect.
“This is a difficult conversation that people are struggling to have in a meaningful way and we hope our film shows that you’re not alone in that,” Kaufman says. “If our film can help spark that conversation between loved ones and ultimately give people a starting point to make an informed decision, we feel like it’s done its job.”
The Ad Council