Household-name Moderna rolls out a self-aware campaign for Spikevax vaccine

With Moderna's full approval for its COVID vaccine, Spikevax, comes a full-throttle approach to talking up its shot—and itself. 

In a video, which runs on its new site and on its YouTube subsite (where comments are switched off), the biopharma wants you to "meet Spikevax”; though, to most Americans, the “Moderna shot”—as opposed to the “Pfizer shot"—is probably how it is better known.

The narrator, and the team behind the video, are only too aware of this, and she says: “Hi, we’re Spikevax. You’ve probably heard of us, or at least our company, Moderna.”

The video, which is more than six minutes long, is hardly a DTC commercial. It's more of an explainer campaign to tell viewers more about the shot, how it works and, in part, to dispel some of the misinformation about Moderna's mRNA technology.

Primarily animated, with dark purple and reds as the predominant coloring, the video uses upbeat jazz-lite music and a conversational approach to discussing the science behind the vaccine.

The video arrived in the same week that the company linked itself to sumo wrestling in Japan in a series of new ads. As Massachusetts-based Moderna tries to attract customers to a fourth booster dose—and regain trust after contamination issues—it’s employing ads that include sumo flags and the company name in heavy sumo-style script.

Moderna, which recently predicted $21 billion in Spikevax sales for 2022, is also looking to nab an emergency authorization in the U.S. for its shot in kids older than six this year. Spikevax originally gained its emergency authorization in late 2020 but won its full FDA approval only two months ago.

That approval may grant marketing clearance, but it also requires a lot of safety and prescribing information, provided in the newly released video. In fact, the actual content is only around two minutes 30 seconds long. The remaining four minutes is taken up by the narrator reading out most of the drug’s label with accompanying text.

Pfizer, which makes rival mRNA vaccine Comirnaty, also recently won full FDA approval, and it has already run several new ads that focus on what vaccines have done to help the world. It has not gone hard on Comirnaty branding as yet.