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Becoming a parent means making a hundred different child-rearing decisions long before the precious bundle even arrives. Breastfeeding or formula? Cloth or disposable diapers? Do we also tell the little tike about Baby Shark? Vaccinations, however, use to ring of inevitability, the one thing that would come about as naturally as feeding. Yes, if you can believe it, there used to be a time when everyone was on the same page about shielding children from disease.
But times and ideologies change, and now there is a very vocal faction of parents who believe that vaccines are actually detrimental to a child’s health, despite the echoing lack of evidence supporting such a claim. As we witness the rise of the “anti-vaxxer” movement, the strong return of measles feels like an expected, but brutal punishment for the sweeping acceptance of misinformation and propaganda on the topic—and one Portland agency has had enough.
At first glance, the new campaign “Unvaccinated!Life” from creative agency Borders Perrin Norrander (BPN) looks like a deceptively vibrant lifestyle haven for the anti-vaxxing community. However, all it takes is a brief glance at the About section to understand their mission. “Our team is dedicated to sourcing the best in anti-vaccine opinions from every nook, cranny and far-flung corner of the internet,” the site declares. “It is our mission to give a voice to those who probably shouldn’t have a voice because isn’t that what the internet is all about?”
BPN’s executive creative director Rob Thompson explained to Adweek how they landed on the idea of a satirical lifestyle brand: “The concept itself was born when we put ourselves in the shoes of the anti-vaxxers and eventually asked, ‘What if there was a lifestyle brand that celebrated being against vaccination? Is that too crazy or just crazy enough?’”
Alongside a collection of articles—one especially convincing write-up is aptly titled “Why you shouldn’t give your kids that vaccines that protect you”—is a shoppable online store full of merchandise. You can grab a “herd immunity is for sheeple” onesie for your healthy (for now) baby niece, or an “Eenie, Meanie, Vaccine, No” shirt for yourself. Per the agency, proceeds from every purchase will go towards pro-vaccination education.
The campaign’s sole purpose isn’t to poke fun at a community (though it gives into that urge none too subtly), but to challenge a logic that has led to a series of measles outbreaks around the nation, including one in the agency’s home state. In February, there were 62 confirmed cases just north of the city in Clark County, Washington, most of whom were not vaccinated.
In the end, though, the agency thinks humor will make its point about a serious issue.
“Our hope is we help people realize how far they have had to bend logic and reason to justify their opposition to vaccination,” Thompson says. “We’re not scolding or lecturing them. Ultimately, we hope it leads a few people to reconsider their reasons for not trusting something that has saved millions of lives—potentially including their own.”