Expanded contract sought for Manchester marketing firm to promote vaccination

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Story Produced by New Hampshire Bulletin

CONCORD, NH – At Wednesday’s Executive Council meeting, the state Department of Health and Human Services will ask to increase its $434,500 contract with a Manchester marketing firm to $1.3 million to continue promoting COVID-19 vaccination through 2022.

Under the expanded contract, GYK Antler will still use social media, radio and television spots, and billboards to try to increase the 61 percent vaccination rate among people eligible for it. It began that work in May under the existing contract, but its promotional content has been challenging to find through internet searches and the state’s media channels. It’s also unclear how GYK Antler and the state are deciding what its promotional content should – and should not – say, something vaccine communication experts say needs constant revising to avoid ineffective and counterproductive messaging that backfires.

Neither DHHS or GYK Antler returned calls for today’s Bulletin story on effective messaging strategies.

According to the expanded contract, GYK Antler will use personal stories from residents and health care providers to try to increase the state’s vaccination rate. Its existing five Facebook ads feature a New England Patriots player (one also includes Gov. Chris Sununu). There is also a video featuring Sununu and state public health officials.

The company will promote the “safety and wide availability” of the vaccine to all age groups but also target specific groups and areas that have lower vaccination rates, including racial and ethnic minorities and people under 40, according to the contract.