Vaccines are clearly polarizing, particularly in places like Wyoming (which happens to be the nation’s second least vaccinated state). In fact, the politicization of the COVID-19 vaccine has had a ripple effect in the state, leading to decreasing adoption rates for other vaccines as well.
To combat this, the Wyoming Department of Health is leaning into humor—as well as history—in a new spot from Sukle Advertising & Design in Denver. The darkly comic ad takes a trip back to Basin, Wyoming, in 1922, for a reminder of why we should be grateful for how modern-day medicine keeps death and disease at bay.
The story is based on a real incident—as related in the Casper Star-Tribune on Sept. 23, 1922.
“Our intention with this spot was to disarm Wyoming residents with humor and get them to stop and pay attention to a spot about vaccines—a topic that could be potentially divisive,” said Mike Sukle, chief creative officer at Sukle Advertising & Design. “Rather than using statistics or the typical public health marketing approach, we were inspired by a true story from Basin, Wyoming, in 1922 when a man died from tetanus as a result of a cut while shaving.”
The execution is spot on—with great casting and a cinematic feel.
“The Wyoming Department of Health has worked with Sukle on more than one effort over the years. Their campaigns for us have been effective and highly imaginative,” said Kim Deti, public information officer with the department. “Their approach focuses on understanding our goals, the audience and what will work to change behavior. First on that list is always producing creative that stands out.”
Sukle’s long history of work for the client includes this disturbing spot from 2007, where a brain is put through a meat slicer—to warn of the effects of meth.
This new spot is supported by a full 360 integrated campaign about proven adult and childhood vaccines.
(Note: The director and production company asked to remain anonymous. The rest of the credits are below.)