Moderna wants you to “Spikevax that body.” In an ad that contrasts sharply with Pfizer’s celeb-loaded TV spot, the mRNA specialist is pitching its COVID-19 vaccine as another part of a healthy lifestyle in a bid to counter falling sales.
The 60-second TV spot opens on footage of an older man, sweatband and headphones in place, walking past a Spikevax sign and playing table tennis. Over a funky beat, a chirpy narrator says, “when it comes to your health, you do you, you ping and pong that body.” The ad then shows the other things people do in the name of health, such as plunging in ice water and drinking a smoothie made from leafy greens.
For each image, the narrator says what the person does to “that body.” Some people “plunge that body.” Other people “green that body.” That format continues through various physical and mental activities for the first third of the ad, at which point the table tennis player returns for the key message.
“You flu shot that body, and now you Spikevax that body. Because even though the pandemic is over, COVID-19 isn't,” the narrator says. As the narrator discusses the flu shot, we see the table tennis player with a plaster on his arm, indicating he has been vaccinated. The screen transitions to a younger woman, again with a plaster on her arm, as the narrator says “Spikevax that body.”
The second half of the video shows more footage of the people staying healthy—on an exercise bike with a virtual reality headset, opening a fridge that is dense with leafy green vegetables—as the narrator lists safety information related to Spikevax. As the ad comes to a close, the narrator returns to the takeaway message, saying, “make vaccination against COVID-19 a part of your health routine: Spikevax that body.”
Moderna’s ad is running in parallel to the TV spot for Pfizer’s rival COVID-19 vaccine. While the vaccines are similar, the marketing strategies are very different, with Moderna’s positioning of Spikevax as part of a normal healthy lifestyle contrasting with Pfizer’s use of a phalanx of celebrities to carry its “Got Yours?” message.
Both campaigns face an uphill struggle. Pfizer expects sales of its COVID-19 vaccine to fall 70% compared to last year, contributing to its decision to kick off a cost-cutting drive. Moderna is forecasting full-year product sales of at least $6 billion, down from $19 billion last year despite running “significant marketing and awareness campaigns,” and expects revenues to fall again in 2024.