This poster, on the side of a pay phone* on New Scotland Ave near Albany Med, caught our attention the other day. No, it doesn't mean what it first seems to mean.
The smaller print:
Many people believe that if you have lung cancer you did something to deserve it. It sounds absurd, but it's true. Lung cancer doesn't discriminate and neither should you. Help put an end to the stigma and the disease at NoOneDeservesToDie.org.
We looked up the website. The campaign, from an org called the Lung Cancer Alliance, includes a bunch of "____ deserve to die" posters: the smug, the genetically privileged, cat lovers, and so on. The other side of the New Scotland Ave poster is the "crazy old aunts" version.
You can see where they're going with this -- that just because a person smoked they don't deserve cancer, and/or that there are people who get lung cancer even though they didn't smoke -- but we're not sure the campaign actually gets there. That's a complicated message and these ads are rather vague -- especially if they're just catching people in passing. (The original version of the campaign apparently didn't include the "if they have lung cancer" part -- making them even harder to figure.) [Philly.com] [KVAL]
The campaign has run in a bunch of cities and, not surprisingly, been tagged as "controversial." The agency that created the campaign said it knew the ads would be "polarizing." Apparently there's even a word for this sort of campaign: "shock-vertising" (we think shock-vertising needs to hire a new agency). [Houston Chronicle] [WJLA] [WTMJ] [NYT]
(*Maybe the last pay phone in Albany?)
By the way: "Hipster Cancer" sounds like a Tumblr.
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