On Sunday, Sept. 19, ahead of the matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints, a box truck was spotted in Charlotte with an unusual message. “Don’t get vaccinated,” the sign on the truck said, along with a logo for a funeral home. According to people on social media, the truck was driving laps around the football stadium.
The truck quickly went viral, with some online users wondering about the message behind the marketing.
Was that mobile billboard a legitimate ad for a funeral home?
No, the box truck with a sign saying 'don't get vaccinated' was not a legitimate funeral home ad. It was a stunt to encourage vaccination.
WHAT WE FOUND
The box truck was created as part of an advertising campaign by the firm BooneOakley to encourage vaccination. BooneOakley took credit for the creation on its Twitter account.
Wilmore Funeral Home is a fictional funeral home, and when someone goes to wilmorefuneralhome.com, they are greeted with a message that says, “Get vaccinated now. If not, see you soon.”
The site then redirects the visitor to Charlotte-based StarMed Healthcare’s vaccination site, where users can register to receive one of three COVID-19 vaccination shots. StarMed Healthcare is one of the largest providers of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations in the Charlotte metro.
Chris Dobbins, chief of relations and response for StarMed, told Charlotte station WCNC the campaign was completely organized by BooneOakley and couldn’t have come at a better time.
"We got phone calls about all of this excitement," Dobbins said. "'Hey, we got redirected to your site.' We had to do a little homework and found out this company had a really good experience with StarMed and actually used us as their landing spot for this advertisement."
Claire Oakley, with BooneOakley told VERIFY the firm felt strongly that people should protect themselves and get vaccinated. In North Carolina, roughly 52 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, and Oakley said they hoped this truck would make people see things from another perspective -- from the perspective of a funeral home.
She said the truck got “attention in a completely different and unexpected way -- to make folks see this issue from another perspective. And, hopefully, consider getting the vaccine.
StarMed Healthcare tweeted the marketing campaign has been a success in encouraging unvaccinated individuals to get vaccinated -- there has been a 22 percent increase in COVID-19 vaccination appointments registered at StarMed compared to the previous week before the campaign.