What do Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce, and Bryant University have in common? Communication professor Christopher Morse, Ph.D.
With a background in healthcare communications and risk management, Morse was the media’s go-to expert when the Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end — and singer Taylor Swift’s most recent paramour — appeared in Pfizer’s COVID vaccination ad. The pharmaceutical company needed the media boost since it cut its year-end forecast 13 percent based on lackluster sales of its COVID vaccine and treatment.
So, will the ad have any impact? According to Morse, the resounding answer is…maybe. As he explained to both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Fox News Digital, Kelce’s ad could serve as a reminder to people who were planning on getting the vaccine anyway. And, as Morse explains to Axios, Kelce is an athlete, which signals to people that he takes care of his body, leading them to trust he has knowledge around health topics. This makes him more reliable than a celebrity who has no athletic background.
But as Morse explains in an op-ed in STAT, if someone decided to pass on getting the jab, the ad would need to change a health behavior, which is extremely difficult to do. And in the case of a highly politicized vaccine like COVID, changing hearts and minds is unlikely.