SJR supports COVID-19 vaccination drive with the help of Adobe Stock

Photograph of woman with the Aetna logo.

Global end-to-end content marketing consultancy SJR, a WPP Company, recently collaborated with Aetna, a CVS Health Company, to produce an impactful video campaign that highlights the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccination. Centered around the key workers who played a critical role throughout the pandemic, it showcases them performing their essential jobs on the frontlines that simply couldn’t be done from home.

The teams at Aetna focus on improving access to the vaccine, but they also understand this can be a difficult, highly personal decision. “The overall message is to stop vaccine hesitancy and reassure people that it’s safe,” explains Blake-Leigh Kibbit, account executive at SJR (Content Marketing Institute’s Agency of the Year 2020). “There are so many people who are still unvaccinated, and we need as many people to get on board so we can return to a sense of normalcy and protect the ‘doers’ who have been there since the beginning of the pandemic. We wanted to communicate that to Aetna’s audience and encourage them to get the vaccine.”

Here, the team gives us an exclusive look behind their workflow and how they tackled the production challenges caused by the pandemic with the help of Adobe Stock.

The importance of stock imagery from pitch to execution

SJR specializes in content strategies and creating transformative content for its clients. The team works closely with each client from the beginning to understand the message they want to get across. Sometimes they start with a general idea, sometimes the client already has a concrete vision and needs some assistance in shaping it.

“We then make sure we have the right people on board and decide on the creative,” says Emily Hoffman, account manager at SJR. “We think about the ask and the words behind the story to craft the angle, so that we have a unique lens in how we approach the topic that the client is trying to bring to life.”

Creative director, Christie Tandiono then comes into brainstorm with a team of designers, ensures they follow the right visual approach, and chooses the format of the campaign (for example, a white paper, an article, an infographic, or a video). For the Aetna project, the team — which had to be assembled very quickly to deal with the time-sensitive topic — was looking for stock imagery that was different and hadn’t been overused during the pandemic yet.

“Content creation wouldn’t be possible without stock photos and videos,” Tandiono points out. “That’s just the world that we live in now. How do you present an idea to a client when you can’t shoot anything and everyone’s working from home? It’s really important to select the right images from the start to convey the right feel and the right tone. We very much rely on stock, now more than ever.”

Editor Dmitriy Rozin, Photo Credit: Laura Beckerdite.

Complementing stock with new, original footage

The team turned to Adobe Stock to find photography and video footage the client hadn’t seen before and put together mood boards to present the concept. Once approved, they wrote a script and created a storyboard before the project went into production.

Extensive research, made possible by Adobe Stock’s intuitive keyword research and filtering capabilities, was essential to find diverse content that reflected Aetna’s audience.

The project also included a lot of interviews with COVID-19 vaccine subject matter experts. Like everyone else, SJR had to pivot to remote work when the pandemic struck, and the Aetna campaign was the first time in a long time that the team filmed with their in-house multimedia crew again.

“During the lockdown, stock became very important because we were basically recording our scripts remotely and then tried to elevate the footage with material that looked fresh and beautiful,” recalls executive producer Brian Higdon. “As we started to come out of the pandemic, this project became a key moment for us to bridge the gap between where we were and where we’re trying to go. We wanted to shoot some of the footage and pitched that we were going to go to Aetna’s experts and show them on camera.”

Photo Credit: Taylor Finlay.

As the team still couldn’t shoot extensive b-roll footage, videos from Adobe Stock were used to build out the story and connect to the audience. The video was edited in Premiere Pro, and a colorist united the look of the different parts in post-production, while After Effects was used for the animations.

The interviewees were excited to be involved and have an opportunity to talk about their work, which is integral to the health care company’s efforts in boosting the vaccine initiatives. The video that SJR was able to execute despite the tight deadline and the on-going challenges posed by the pandemic feels real and authentic. It tells a powerful story and captures the spirit of the people Aetna is trying to help — building crucial vaccine confidence across the country.