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New Ad Campaign in San Jose Hopes to Positively Encourage Vaccination

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A San Jose State University professor helped design an innovative new ad campaign, specifically encouraging members of the city's Latino and Vietnamese communities to get vaccinated.

The billboards feature photographs of elaborate art installations depicting people emerging from their COVID-19 bubbles after getting vaccinated.

"We wanted people to feel the joy once they were vaccinated and they were safe and had helped make their community safe," said Robin Lasser, a professor of photography at SJSU.

The professor said the tone of the photographs can be playful, and the message celebratory. In one ad, a man in traditional Vietnamese formal attire is filmed inside what looks like an oversized snow globe. Several figures outside of the bubble hold lanterns with messages written on them like, "Vaccinated, no more loneliness."

Lasser said the ads are a different approach from vaccine mandates and other get-tough policy crafted to encourage people to get their shots. Her team said they use "joy and gentle persuasion" as motivators.

"We thought we were out of the dark for a little while there. So, they project was about celebrating. But currently, the project has taken on a new tone which is urging vaccination," said Jesus Aguilar, a professional photographer, professor and community liaison on the project.

The state of California provided the money for the ad campaign, buying ten billboards across the city of San Jose.

Public health officials say they hope the takeaway is if you're unvaccinated, you're unprotected.

"We're seeing in the hospital people who we would have otherwise thought were low risk -- people who are younger, people who have no other medical conditions. We're seeing them in the hospital if they're not vaccinated," said Dr. Ahmed Kamal with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

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