It’s rare that the concept of acting like a giant asshole to attract attention, and then begging for money after saying “just kidding”, works out.

The photo of the bus stop ad on the left was taken in Utah, but was run in various forms across America. It initially contained no other information — just that offensive statement. Later on they added in small text “if they have lung cancer”. They’re trying to highlight the idea that many people believe that people who have lung cancer due to smoking cigarettes “deserve it”. Which is arguably true I suppose, although a very callous statement when you consider the nature of addiction.

Other versions of the ad ran with “cat lovers” and “hipsters” and so on, so they’re not drawing a parallel with hepatitis or something like that. They’re just trying to be as offensive as possible to draw attention to their cause. Unfortunately it’s going to draw the wrong sort of attention to their cause — simply convincing me that they’re callous emotionally-unemphatic jerks, and if this thinking pervades their charity, it’s not one that I’d choose to donate too.

And sorry, but I’d much rather donate money to groups fighting to stop smoking, to make sure that people don’t smoke around children and so on, than to pay to help smokers — which is how this ad frames the lung cancer debate. That raises an important point — is “helping those poor innocent smokers” really an effective way to raise money for cancer research? Accuse people of being jerks, and you’re just as likely to have them keep on being jerks rather than handing you a wad of cash. This whole thing seems an incredibly counter-productive way of helping, and I definitely don’t appreciate them kickstarting the whole thing with hostility toward tattooed people.

PS. There are pictures of all the ads here:


  1. uberalice wrote:

    What a horrible campaign. Emotional bludgeoning aside, it doesn’t many any sense. With some thought I can maybe see where they were going but a good campaign shouldn’t require scrutiny to make sense. Someone (lots of someones) didn’t think this all the way through.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink
  2. Jess wrote:

    I wonder how many people read the full advertisement? Unless I’m sitting on a train for hours on end if I walk past an ad I might glance at the headline, but not read the whole campaign… Actually on the whole if something is preaching hate I straight out make the assumption that I won’t want to read it.
    I’m seriously curious to find out if this ad campaign is actually effective, or if the marketing was just to create a stir to get the name of the lung cancer alliance out there. I can’t see this flying in Australia… at least not without people turning it into a joke… I get shock tactics (our anti smokers ads are pretty graphic, rottings lungs and damaged fetus’s), but no, I can’t see people buying into this ad campaign either.

    Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
  3. It is too nasty and on the core group SMOKERS last time I checked the japanese lived the longest and at least on average remain heavy smokers.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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