If we could give out a second REEL AD OF THE WEEK for this provocative, clever and outright funny out-of-home ad, we would. Last Sunday, while Carolina Panther fans were tailgating at Bank of America Stadium to see their team take on the Atlanta Falcons in downtown Charlotte, they were tackled by a new advertising message from the Wilmore Funeral Home. A blitz of reverse psychology if you will.
“Don’t get vaccinated.”
Painted on the side of a black truck was the in-your-face message. But before you anti-vaxxers start cheering that there is a message speaking directly to you, well it kind of is, here’s the rub. There is no Wilmore Funeral Home. The business only exists in the minds of the creatives from award-winning agency BooneOakley.
The agency hired a truck and driver to tour around Charlotte, leading people to visit Wilmore Funeral Home online. Once they go, they are met with a new message: “Get vaccinated now. If not, see you soon.”
After visitors click the “Get vaccinated now” box, they’re redirected to an area healthcare provider, StarMed, that administers Covid-19 vaccines. In North Carolina, vaccination rates lag national numbers — roughly 48.8% of residents are fully vaccinated.
According to President, Creative Director and “Parking Lot attendant,” David Oakley it was time for real talk about COVID-19 and vaccines.
He told CNN, “I just feel like conventional advertising is not working. Like, just regular messages that say ‘Get the Shot’ or ‘Go Get Vaccinated’ … they just kind of blend in with everything else. We wanted to do something that saw it from a different perspective and kind of shocks people into thinking, ‘Holy moly, man.’
“I think the reason we did it was that we want people to get vaccinated and I believe even if just one person gets vaccinated because of that billboard, I give it a grand success. Just one person, it will be worth it to me,” Oakley added.
Knowing there would be crowds tailgating for Sunday’s game, Oakley noted it was an ideal opportunity to give people “something to talk about other than football.”
Anyone who knows BooneOakley would understand their creative effort. The agency is known for doing unconventional, attention-getting work. On the agency website, they have their mantra: “We give ambitious brands an unfair advantage.”
The idea for the funeral home truck came out of the agency’s frustration with sharply declining vaccination rates.
Oakley noted to CNN, “So we were wondering, what we can we do to help? So our team was throwing around some ideas one morning.” And they thought about businesses that are dealing with some of the people who aren’t getting vaccinated.” When people die, that’s funeral homes.” From there, the group decided to go beyond a vehicle for the message to building an actual website that links people to a vaccination site. That site was StarMed.
According to Oakley, StarMed is where many agency staff have been vaccinated. “As a health care organization, they were a little bit, let’s just say a little nervous about it,” he said. “We were nervous about it too to be honest, and how it would go over. But they agreed to let us link to their site and that was phenomenal because that’s what made the whole thing work– to me, anyway.”
The engaging creative effort seems to have worked as StarMed has reported an uptick in vaccinations. What the hell? We give this a REEL AD OF THE WEEK as well!