Local News

Ad for 'funeral home' spreads message to unvaccinated at Panthers game

Posted September 21, 2021 11:16 a.m. EDT
Updated September 22, 2021 1:01 p.m. EDT

‘Get vaccinated now’: Ad agency’s Charlotte campaign features funeral home

— Circulating social media posts from the Charlotte area feature a photo of a black van with one bold statement, "Don't get vaccinated."

The van made laps around the Bank of America stadium before Sunday's Panthers game.

The name "Wilmore Funeral Home" is printed on the van to suggest the fate of an unvaccinated person, and the supposed funeral home's website reads, "Get vaccinated now. If not, see you soon."

It turns out that Wilmore isn't a real funeral home. Instead, the website is a landing page that takes visitors to the StarMed website, where people in the Charlotte area can learn about where and how to receive a free coronavirus vaccine.

The fake funeral home is actually a planned campaign by an ad agency to raise awareness about COVID-19 vaccines, which have been proven to reduce serious illness or death from coronavirus.

"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," agency director David Oakley told CNN. "We wanted to do something that saw it from a different perspective and kind of shocks people into thinking, 'Holy moly, man.'"

According to Newsweek, StarMed did not pay to be part of the campaign but supported the cause.

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."

"I think the reason we did it was because 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 told CNN.

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