CEO Lori Gaffney came up with the idea after reading an editorial in the New York Times.
"The more we dug into it, the more we realized that anti-vaxxers would not listen to anything. We thought we'd take it on," Gaffney said. "We used humor to maybe break through because obviously science and facts are not working."
The ads began appearing on social media like Facebook and Instagram near the end of February. They targeted those in Clark and Multnomah counties, the areas hit with a measles outbreak that started in January. In 2 months, 70 confirmed cases of measles have been reported. A majority of the cases involved those not vaccinated.
The ad, "Unvaccinated! Life" takes a shot at the anti-vaccine community from their point of view.
"Our vision was to find a different note to get into the conversation about vaccination without blending in," Executive Creative Director Rob Thompson said. "We felt that our best weapon might be to sort of disarm people with humor."
Instead of spouting facts that kept falling on deaf ears, they took a shot at headlines like: "Having twins? Here's how you should decide which one to vaccinate," and "Herd immunity is for sheeple."
It's stuff that you'd see on "The Onion" or other satirical websites.
"We had to go further than we originally thought we would. We had to go more parody, we had to dial it up because if it was too close to truths, 10-15 percent what is more zany for anti-vax people?" Thompson said.
Besides fake headlines, there's real merchandise for sale, everything from hats to mugs, baby onesies and tote bags
All proceeds benefit shotatlife.org, a vaccine education program at the United Nations.
While it may seem like it's celebrating the measles outbreak, it's more about education. A way to get people to rethink how far out their anti-vaccine mindset really is.
The ad cost the agency only $400 and Thompson says, "If a couple of minds change, it was more than worth it."