The simple proclamation depicted a man holding a baby alongside the message: “If you knew the ingredients in a vaccine, would you RISK it? More detail was provided beyond a web link to the body behind the claim, Warnings About Vaccine Expectations (WAVE).
Erected alongside an off ramp overlooking Auckland’s Southern Motorway the words drew 140 complaints from passing motorists on the first morning that it appeared, before being hastily withdrawn.
In a statement, Ad-Vantage Media said: “Unfortunately, the billboard was installed without going through our vetting process and if we had followed it correctly it would not have been installed," a spokesperson told the ASA.
"In these circumstances, if we have any doubts regarding a creative we run it past the ASA for their initial thoughts. What transpired was the client sent an initial design and my understanding was the creative was to be changed. In fact, all that happened was a higher resolution file was sent. A staff member thought it was good to print and went ahead and did so.
"Once the problem came to light we removed the skin as quickly as possible."
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has also weighed in against the billboard campaign, declaring that its anti-vaccination message was unsubstantiated.
In 2013 a Welsh newspaper was blamed for a significant rise in measles cases across the Swansea area - 15 years after it published a series of anti-vaccination articles.