Two Millions Arms - Vaccinate KC Logo


We can all agree that 2020 didn’t turn out like any of us thought it would. In March, the world hit pause and we went home to turn our dining rooms into offices and school rooms. In early summer, Willoughby was asked by regional public coalition, ComeBack KC, to work on a Covid-19 safety campaign and it felt really good to contribute, to use our creativity, to do some good.

Later that summer there was word that a Covid 19 vaccine was in clinical trials and we began to hope. The first vaccine was given on December 14, 2020 and nationwide distribution began in early 2021.

At the same time, ComeBackKC came to us again for help with a vaccination campaign to encourage the greater KC area to get vaccinated as soon as possible. And once again, we were eager to help. We also understood the gravity of the ask, and we were determined to get it right.

The messaging of this campaign would be as important, perhaps even more important, than the imagery. How do you convince, persuade, implore or even amuse people to participate in a greater good when so much misinformation was already in the air? We met with public health officials, local civic leaders and several non-profit organizations to carefully determine effective communications that would encourage participation. We spent hours in research into human behavior, thought leadership and other vaccination efforts across the country and the world. The Covid Collective, a social science research group created specifically to address the pandemic was an indispensable resource.

Two Million Arms KC Illustrations

To balance the seriousness of the messaging, a colorful illustrated gallery of “arms” was created to reaffirm the goal of getting 2 Millions shots in 2 Million arms. The colorful array as well as the various shapes and sizes moved outside of culture and ethnicity to reinforce the message of unity against the pandemic.

To cut through skepticism, public health campaigns need “trusted messengers and trusted messages.
Tom Frieden
Former director of the CDC, current head of global health initiative Resolve to Save Lives, NPR

Campaign Focus

Our first communications efforts were centered around protection: protection of self, family and community. Supporting messaging would assure the public about safety, availability and equity. Three communications channels were determined and a plan was developed to evolve the outreach across all of 2021 and well into 2022 as boosters were introduced to extend vaccine efficacy.

To inform, prepare, encourage, and support the Kansas City regional effort, 4 phases of messaging were deployed.

Two Million Arms Campaign Focus

Communication Channels

Overall Message: Get the Vaccine, Vaccine Safety, Vaccine Facts
Directional: How/Where/When
Targeted: Individual Communities, Underserved, Impacted Communities, Communities of Color, Faith-based, etc.

Two Million Arms KC Website

A vaccine “counter” kept a tally on area vaccinations and could be used across all platforms, including the website.

Two Million Arms KC Social Media

A library of assets in Canva was shared across the metro so that organizations could create their own social media posts, posters, event notices, etc.

Two Million Arms KC Billboards
Two Million Arms KC Signs
Two Million Arms KC Vans
Two Million Arms KC Bus Decals

The 2M Arms campaign was chosen as an A17 AIGA Juror’s Choice Award in 2022 by Juror Ann Sunwoo, Graphic Designer at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Two Million Arms KC Review