As fans walked toward Bank of America Stadium on Sunday to watch the Carolina Panthers play, they were greeted by an eye-catching advertisement. Throughout the afternoon, a black truck owned by Willmore Funeral Home rode by the stadium with a billboard that read, "Don't get vaccinated." The billboard caught the attention of many who saw it and pictures of the billboard quickly spread across social media. However, there is more to this story than what can be shown in a photo.
The billboard was not created by Willmore Funeral Home. In fact, Willmore Funeral Home is not a real business. This viral marketing campaign was the brainchild of David Oakley, owner of the BooneOakley advertising agency. He confirmed the news via Twitter on Tuesday and explained his thinking during an interview with CBS News.
"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," he explained.
"The idea came about when we thought about who would really benefit from people not getting the shot and you kind of go back to the simple fact that people are dying that aren't vaccinated, so who benefits from people dying? A funeral home!"
Adding to his billboard campaign, Oakley has also bought the WillmoreFuneralHome.com domain and left a simple message for all those who visit it.
"Get vaccinated now. If not, see you soon," the website reads.
For those interested in getting vaccinated, they can click the website's "Get Vaccinated" button and head to StarMED Healthcare, a company that's helped to vaccinate thousands of people.
"StarMED Health has and will continue to administer and support COVID Testing, Vaccinations, and Antibody Therapy in response to this ongoing Pandemic. While we recognize there are varying opinions and different types of media messages, we support all efforts to educate and motivate our community to prevent and stop the spread of this virus," StarMED Chief Relations and Response Officer Chris Dobbins told WBTV.