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Monday, October 25, 2021

‘Don’t get vaccinated’: ‘funeral home’ ad with stark message goes viral

What initially appeared to be a message put up by anti-vaxxers, turned out to be an offbeat marketing strategy to encourage getting vaccinated against Covid-19

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 22, 2021 10:41:07 am
covid vaccination, covid vaccine unique campaign, funeral home dont get vaccinated ad, wilmore funeral home, covid 19 vaccine viral ads, indian expressThe sarcastic ad was a pro-vaccine effort trying to warn people about fatal outcomes.

Even as the novel coronavirus continues to disrupt lives across the globe, much hesitation and misinformation surrounds the Covid-19 vaccination drive. Amid efforts by several organisations and governments to bust myths around the vaccine, a funeral home has come up with a sarcastic campaign asking people not to get vaccinated. And yes, it is going viral.

A truck with the message, ‘Don’t get vaccinated’ was spotted driving around the streets of a town in the US state of North Carolina over the weekend, in what appeared to be an ad put up by a bunch of anti-vaxxers. Clicked by passersby, photos of the truck soon flooded social media. The real message, however, was different from what it initially seemed to convey.

In a sassy take, the billboard for Wilmore Funeral Home was trying to warn anti-vaxxers against putting their lives at risk. Although no other information regarding the funeral home was provided, a phone number underneath the ad on the truck referred to Crenshaw Visions, an ad agency based in Lancaster, South Carolina.

The seemingly offensive ad left many intrigued with several people eventually Googling the firm to find out more about it, while others speculated if it was a prank. The link for “Wilmore Funeral Home” on the truck took people to a website that simply says, “Get vaccinated now” with another line beneath it saying, “If not, see you soon.”

Clicking on the ‘Get Vaccinated’ message took people to a Covid-19 vaccine website for StarMed Healthcare, a local healthcare provider. The website has important information on getting vaccinated, including about scheduling appointments, besides a long list of FAQs.

The healthcare agency said it was not responsible for the novel marketing strategy but is glad if the effort encourages at least a few people to get vaccinated in the wake of rising cases owing to the Delta variant. Dr Arin Piramzadian, StarMed Healthcare’s Chief Medical Officer told the Charlotte Observer, “If this saves one person’s life by getting vaccinated, I’m 100% for it.”

Reiterating that they are unaware as to who paid for the truck ads, Piramzadian said: “If that statistic does not scare people… I’m not sure what does. Perhaps a dark humor aspect such as this one does catch someone’s attention.”

Finally unravelling the mystery, WBTV identified the person behind the provocative message as David Oakley, the owner of BooneOakley advertising agency. Oakley said the agency has been around for two decades and specialises in doing work that “gets noticed, talked about and shared.” The news channel also confirmed that Wilmore Funeral Home does not exist.

“A lot of the advertisements that you see right now for pro-vaccine are very simple like, ‘get the shot’, ‘get vaccinated’. It’s very simple. We wanted to do something that saw things from a different perspective,” Oakley told WBTV.

Asked if they were worried that the campaign might face backlash, Oakley added: “I was a little bit worried before we started, but when I really think about it, if this advertisement gets one person vaccinated, it was worth it.”

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