CHARLOTTE, NC - During Sunday's home game against New Orleans, Panthers fans noticed a large truck driving near a residential area in Charlotte with an interesting ad: "Don't get vaccinated."
The truck appeared to be advertising for a funeral home (which does not actually exist), and it quickly went viral on Twitter. The marketing gimmick was eventually linked to StarMed HealthCare, one of the largest COVID-19 testing and vaccination providers in Charlotte Metro.
The organization behind the truck stated that they were sending a straightforward message to people who had not been vaccinated-StarMed agreed.
"If this is my idea, I might actually go to that link to take a look," said Chris Dobbins of StarMed HealthCare. "Now you have an audience that might not pay attention."
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When you visit the funeral home website, there is only one thing on the page: a button that says "vaccinate now. If not, see you soon." This link will take you to the StarMed website.
@RexChapman @davenewworld_2 Before the Charlotte Panthers game, this truck was spinning around at the Bank of America Stadium. pic.twitter.com/rIW9OTltK5
StarMed has been on the front lines of the pandemic, testing and vaccinating tens of thousands of people, and posting interesting and sometimes acrimonious tweets. But they are not actually responsible for this stunt.
Related: StarMed Healthcare opens a new monoclonal antibody therapy clinic in Charlotte
"We got calls about all this excitement," Dobbins said. "'Hey, we were redirected to your website.' We had to do some homework and found that this company had a very good experience on StarMed and actually used us as a landing point for ads."
Dobbins, StarMed's director of relations and response, said the truck was organized by advertising company Boone Oakley. It came just in time.
StarMed has been busy with testing and monoclonal antibody treatment, but the vaccination rate is still slowly rising. According to Dobbins, the latest data show that 57% of the residents of Mecklenburg County were vaccinated once and 53% of the residents were vaccinated.
Related:'Every vaccine given may save a life' | Cooper urges an update of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday
He said: "Everything we do can help us get the attention of our neighbors or prompt them to get vaccinated."
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