Although Cupid usually makes his appearance around Valentine’s Day, this year he’s got a summer gig. The winged sprite is the star of the new “Don’t miss your shot at love” in videos featuring “Cupid” preparing for a big night out with a COVID-19 vaccination. It’s part of an advertising campaign that Montgomery County officials hope will lure the unvaccinated young into rolling up their sleeves.
In Montgomery County, there are some 83,137 people ages 16 to 30 who have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and there are 147,241 individuals in that age group, according to the U.S. Census. So about 56 percent are vaccinated while 44 percent remain unvaccinated.
According to recent vaccination data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, approximately 63 percent of Montgomery County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. However, that number decreases significantly among younger folks. And increased vaccination rates are vital in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, officials said.
Of course, the main reason to get vaccinated is to protect your own health, said Janet Panning, interim director of the Office of Public Health.
“There are many reasons why it’s crucial that, if [younger people] are able to, to get vaccinated,” Panning said. “First of all, a number of them will be going back to schools and colleges, to dormitories. Dormitories are a great place to spread the disease. A number of schools are requiring vaccinations. So it’s particularly important for any young adults who are going back to a congregate living kind of situation, such as a dormitory.
“Next, I would assume that many of them would want to take full advantage of their social life,” she added. “They will be safest if they are vaccinated. Not only that, a number of restaurants are requiring vaccinations or recent tests.
“And of course, there are traditional family reasons. They may have vulnerable relatives or younger siblings that are unable to be vaccinated. And finally, there’s the community that often needs protection,” Panning concluded.
Meanwhile, The Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board partnered with Montgomery County to launch the new COVID-19 campaign, taking a shot at motivating young people to stop procrastinating and get their COVID-19 vaccination.
The county used CARES Act funds to hire Brownstein, an independent advertising and public relations agency, to craft the fully integrated, regional campaign. Its target is people between the ages of 16 and 30, telling them it’s cool to be vaccinated and getting the jab might even increase their dating mojo.
It’s certainly a different tone from the traditional fear-based messaging on public health. One campaign component is a series of social media, online and outdoor ads titled “Don’t Procrastinate, Vaccinate.” These ads poke fun at popular excuses the younger population may use to avoid getting vaccinated, such as being too busy arguing with strangers online about trivia like whether pineapple belongs on pizza or scrolling for hours on TikTok.
And acknowledging that people are especially eager to re-enter the social scene after more than a year of being cooped up indoors, another ad tells younger people what they’re missing: dating in person, not via Zoom. It makes being vaccinated the aphrodisiac du jour.
Unlike other vaccination awareness campaigns that incentivize individuals to get vaccinated with cash prizes and trips, Montco’s approach uses love as the ultimate reward for getting vaccinated, telling people in a fun video spot featuring “Cupid” preparing for a big night out. Regional users of popular dating apps like Bumble and Tinder will also receive a special message from Cupid as they swipe.
Didn’t match with Cupid? Don’t worry, it’s not a lost love connection yet, as Brownstein and Montgomery County bring the “Shot at Love” campaign to life in the downtown areas of Montgomery County by sending Cupid to make his rounds at a handful of popular local bars this summer. During these appearances, Cupid will encourage daters to spread the word about getting vaccinated and the resources available to them to learn more about getting vaccinated, such as the county’s COVID-19 website.
Local residents will have an opportunity to enjoy the festivities by stopping by any of the upcoming pop-up appearances:
- Thursday, Aug. 12 from 6-8 p.m. at Flanigan’s Boathouse, located at 113 Fayette St. in Conshohocken
- Sunday, August 15 from 3-5 p.m. at Brothers Kershner Brewery, located at 4119 W Skippack Pike in Skippack
- Wednesday, August 25 from 6-8 p.m. at Bar Lucca, located at 729 E. Hector St. in Conshohocken and featuring entertainment from local singer Maria Maslin
Not only will guests enjoy a meet-and-greet and snap some selfies at these soirees, but they’ll also receive items like commemorative drink glasses and temporary tattoos to let fellow bar hoppers know they’re vaccinated and ready to mingle – safely.
Follow Montgomery County on social media for updates on where Cupid will be making his rounds this summer. To see a list of county-run COVID-19 vaccine clinic hours and locations, visit www.montcopa.org/covid-19vaccine or call (833) 875-3967. A complete list of regional COVID-19 vaccine locations can be found at www.vaccines.gov.