California puts $40m COVID-19 campaign up for bid

The 12-month push would target an array of audiences via various languages.

California puts $40m COVID-19 campaign up for bid

SACRAMENTO, CA: The California Department of Public Health is looking for an agency to manage a $40 million communications and advertising campaign for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. 

A state RFP is calling for an “expedited, consumer-tested campaign” to motivate and educate residents about receiving vaccines. Specifically, the winning firm will be asked to develop a strategic, overarching approach to public health messages about the vaccine rollout while navigating uncertainty, misinformation and disinformation. 

The plan must address groups such as essential workers, Latinos, Black consumers and other target groups, and it must include languages including English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Armenian, Cambodian, Farsi, Hmong and Tagalog.

For the PR portion of the RFP, applicants are being asked to develop a “culturally competent” and multilingual strategy to engage diverse communities, manage crisis communications and deploy rapid response messages.

That plan must include statewide and regional media relations and outreach; the creation of PR strategy including web content, media outreach, spokespeople and community outreach; a social media strategy, including content creation, messaging, community management, and social listening; and a community engagement strategy.

While the $40 million budget is intended to fund a 12-month push, an RFP noted that the final budget is subject to revenue appropriation by the state Health Department. If the department cannot assign the full $40 million, it may cancel the agreement with the winning bidder or alter it to reflect a reduced amount and deliverables.

For the creative brief, applicants are being asked to secure the most cost-effective licensing buyouts and talent agreements and to have creative production use [with] no or minimal live action production shoots.

The department held a pre-proposal webinar for potential bidders on Tuesday, and the deadline for the first proposals is Saturday at 4 p.m. The state is planning to post its intent to award on January 11—it can be appealed—and the proposed start date would be a week later.

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