This weekend, a large black truck was spotted driving around Charlotte, North Carolina, sporting an unusual ad. “Don’t get vaccinated,” the ad said. The catch was, the ad was for a funeral home.
Now, a local medical center says they’re already seeing extra demand for vaccination.
It’s not uncommon for an ad to go viral and have an impact in society, but funeral homes don’t exactly come to mind when you think “viral advertising”. In this case, a local advertising company called Boone Oakley created the simple but compelling message, encouraging people to get vaccinated.
The website of the funeral home led to StarMed — a local care center and family medicine practice. According to StarMed, the ad seemed to have worked: they’ve seen a 22% increase in COVID-19 vaccination appointments registered at StarMed compared to the previous week. StarMed has been testing and vaccinating tens of thousands of members of the local community, often opting funny or snarky comments on their social media channels.
The idea behind the ad was pretty simple: there are plenty of campaigns aimed at encouraging people to get vaccinated, but they’re all kind of similar and “vanilla” — Boone Oakley wanted something different, something that stands out; and they seem to have done it.
Of course, while this is nothing more than an ad, the message behind it is very true. Recent studies have shown that unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people, and 11 times more likely to never make it out of the hospital.
Around 75% of eligible Americans (aged 12 and above) have gotten at least their first shot, and the CDC reported about 54% of the total population is fully vaccinated. However, in order to be truly rid of this pandemic, a much higher percentage is needed.
In the US, like in many other countries around the world, antivaxx resistance has slowed down the vaccination campaign, with officials fearing that disinformation and conspiracy theories will delay the end of the pandemic and prolong the suffering.
StarMed, like many medical centers across the US, is already starting to offer boosters to some patients. However, with vaccination rate starting to plateau, it remains to be seen whether the booster campaign will be successful. Maybe creative campaigns like this one can play a positive role — we can only hope so.