New Atheist bus campaign is wicked


At first, when the atheist bus campaign started gathering steam, I was a little skeptical of the relative merit of it all (I mean, when’s the last time an ad ever convinced you to do anything?). That was before realizing the controversy surrounding them would help galvanize atheists. I was man enough to reverse my position, and I’m happy to say I’m a fan now.

The latest campaign out of Britain has me even more excited. As you can see, their new strategy is to get parents to stop labeling kids under their religious denomination. My guess is it’s going to create a shit storm of controversy, and that’s fucking exciting as hell. I’m also really interested to see how this campaign gets criticized by believers. Seriously, what are they going to say, “I want the right to indoctrinate my own child and control the religion they will adhere to”? Uh, wait a minute:

..a representative of the Christian Schools Trust questioned who would “fill the vacuum” if parents did not pass on their fundamental beliefs.

How about we don’t fill kids’ heads with bullshit.

(props to Simon for the find)

Comments (23)

  • avatar

    Richard

    I could have gone either way with the last ones, I felt the message was fine, but I wasn’t really feelin it. These ones I like much more.

  • avatar

    Mark

    So let me get this right: The British Humanist Association exploited a little girl to raise awareness about the exploitation of little girls, and this is supposed to represent a f%$@^@g exciting development for non theists?

  • avatar

    Andy A

    I assume Mark means “The British Humanist Association *hired a child model* to raise awareness about the exploitation of little girls, and this is supposed to represent a f%$@^@g exciting development for non theists?”

  • avatar

    Zac

    So paying a family to allow their child to be used in an ad to try and persuade people not to label their children philosophically is exploitation?

    If the parents are willing to allow their child to model for the ad, then obviously their not going to label their child themselves.

  • avatar

    Jeffrey

    Oh Give me a break, that kid was no more exploited than the photographer who took the picture or the layout artist that put the image together.

    But seriously, this is a good campaign, but I don’t think it’ll work, Parent’s are just going to say we’re trying to attack their children.

  • avatar

    Nosmanic

    I think it’s a great idea, for parents, to not to label their kids. What if you are a girl 14-year old girl and before you went to a dance one of the parent said “oh yeah I’m a Fundamentist Christian and we taught little Johny that all F@gs are going to hell” Don’t you think thats going to influence the night?

  • avatar

    Scott

    I like the positioning of words that subtly reads “Let me grow up atheist”. I’d bet my bank accounts that’s intentional (as expensive as advertising is, you make damn sure you get your money’s worth).

  • avatar

    Averre

    @Scott

    You’re a moron and you see what you want too.

    The sentance reads “Let me grow up and choose for myself” you twisting it around simply because the word atheist is below it means nothing, why? because i can do it too.

    “Let me grow up and choose for myself Capitalist” see? equally pointless, also your thinly veiled bragging about how much money you have is childish and speaks poorly of your character, or lack thereof.

    Time to grow up.

  • avatar

    Zac

    You could also twist the words to say, “Anarchist child, please don’t label me.” Doesn’t it make it the hidden point of the ad.

    Averre, you’re jumping to assumptions. It doesn’t mean that Scott has a lot of money or that he is bragging about that amount of money just because he said, “I’d bet my bank accounts that’s intentional (as expensive as advertising is, you make damn sure you get your money’s worth).”

    I would bet my bank account that it wasn’t intentional, but that doesn’t mean I’m bragging about how much money I have. In fact, I’ll go ahead and tell you that my family makes $20,000 annually. Still doesn’t mean that I don’t have confidence enough to bet what little money I have.

  • avatar

    Isaac

    Wow… that’s my favourite ad of all time. Props to whoever came up with that!

  • avatar

    Kevin O'Leary

    Much, much better than the rather wishy washy “there’s probably no God…” campaign. Looking forward to seeing their next effort.

  • avatar

    Scott

    @Averre From what I’ve studied of advertising, every bit of every ad is scrutinized heavily for overt and covert meaning. A cursory google search for hidden meaning in ads will reveal the amount of information companies try to pack into an ad. It’s not a stretch to think that placing “atheist” under “Let me be” is on purpose.

    For the record, I’m an unemployed college student being supported by my parents. I have ~$4K to my name.

  • avatar

    Matt

    @Kevin O’Leary,
    I actually liked the “there’s probably no God” campaign., but i agree, this ad is better.

    I like it better because i can’t really see how you can argue against it, no matter what your position. As @Mark demonstrated, you can make a weak attempt to side step the issue, but you really can’t argue against it.

  • avatar

    Spector567

    The Ad Campaign was the best idea ever. For a very long time The Atheist community kept there mouth shut and never spoke up.

    Also at the same time religious groups would shove them aside.

    The best thing any religious group could have done would have been said absolutely nothing. They did the worst thing and that was to say alot making even the moderates see the bias and double standards in place.

  • avatar

    Tammy

    I raised my children with exposure to many different cultures and religions with them being fully aware of my beliefs, while knowing that whatever they felt was appropriate was just fine with Mom as long as they thought about it. One is a philosophical Buddhist with no belief in a deity, and the other is an Atheist. They think. I got good kids by letting them think for themselves, and teaching them how to do it with reason, and making sure they knew I would love them even if we disagreed. I love this ad. Teach kids to reason, not how to think like you do.

  • avatar

    Thiga

    @ mark

    exploited a kid…. your delusions know no boundaries do they. LOL

  • avatar

    Ahmed

    First of all I’m very new to the podcast but I’ve been down with the whole atheist gig now for a good few years. Secondly I’m a marketing and ad student, and thirdly I’m a Brit so I hopefully all these things coming together will help spur on this interesting debate.

    The original ad campaign ‘There probably isn’t a God’ was a direct response by the British Humanist guys (namely comic Ariane Sharine) as a direct reaction to an ad campaign for the JesusSaid.org who posted link to a web-site that boldly stated “all non-Christians would burn in hell for all eternity”. The response to this was the orginal Atheist bus campaign. The sheer audacity of the campaign led to huge media coverage of the whole thing, and this bought the whole reality of whether there was a place for religion in a modern secular society. I think when contextualised/zed the original campaign stirred up so much public opinion this new campaign will struggle to see the same success and fill up less column inches in the papers and less hours on the television.

    This new campaign I think is designed to keep this idea of secularism and Dawkin-esque evolution of social conventions in the public domain and their angle is a good one. The Archbishop of Canterbury (after the queen the head of the church of england) said on a live discussion about the subject he welcomed the original Atheist Bus campaign because it would bring reasoned debate and the idea of faith forward to peoples minds. This new campaign however I believe will be a lot more difficult for the Church to deal with, because like big tobacco industry, the church thrives on getting people while their young. Apart from providing a juicy debate, it will get people of the bloody fence, as long as they look at the ad with some intelligence and fall into one side of the opinion based on the premise of the argument. The people who miss the point altogether and are moronic enough to miss the point and talk about child exploitation, we can instantly dismiss these people from the debate altogether, an unforseen benefit to the overall campaigns mandate.

    Now this is he point where I will stand corrected if wrong, but you Atheist guys over there in the states should for comedic values and as a social experiment try the same thing. Apart from exposing all the religious nut-bags you could hopefully bring the Atheist stance in America to the European table. Having lived in Denmark and Belgium in the last few years as well as the UK, on the whole this kind of thing wouldn’t be a very bald move as most people on our shores have given up on the whole God years (thankfully). It would be great to see a more trans-atlantic alliance.

    Keep up the great work, anybody who wants to add me on facebook for a chat to get an insight into Atheism in Europe feel free to add me!

    Regards

  • avatar

    Jim

    Does anyone else notice that Mark always stops posting when he’s been shown to have said something patently stupid?

  • avatar

    James

    This whole “filling the vacuum” thing is bullshit of the highest order. There is no void. There never was a void. Children aren’t born with a hole full of religion or one that needs filling with spiritual horseshit. I’ve never been religious and I don’t pine for something to fill a hole I don’t have.

    Like the Cake, the void is a lie. It doesn’t exist. Some people might feel they have a void, but that is their own personal hole to fill as they wish but humans don’t automatically have a need for religion or something of similar “value” to take it’s place.

  • avatar

    Brian

    @ James – You are dead on. The only void is the one that some people are convinced that they have (and there are plenty of forces out there trying to do the convincing so that they can be the one to also do the filling). Our children are quite young, but we have tried to allow them to reason on their own as much as possible (like Tammy mentioned above). Living in rural Kentucky, they are bombarded with religion as if it were a necessary part of life so we have to work hard to show them how to keep their minds open.
    Love this ad.

  • avatar

    Mark

    I didn’t stop posting, I just don’t read this site every day like you folks do. :)

    @ Andy A said “I assume Mark means “The British Humanist Association *hired a child model* to raise awareness about the exploitation of little girls, and this is supposed to represent a f%$@^@g exciting development for non theists?”

    Hey! You just labeled her a CHILD MODEL! How dare you! Take it back! Now! Let her choose for herself you tyrant! Let her choose for herself! ;)

    You can spin it any way you want to Andy, ANY girl whose likeness has been plastered on the side of a bus to further the cause of an organization has been exploited.. by the organization, the child’s parents, or both. Why? Because she is not old enough to even understand what the big fuss is all about to begin with.

    Zac said: If the parents are willing to allow their child to model for the ad, then obviously their not going to label their child themselves.

    That’s too simplistic of a framing, sorry. More explicitly: “if the parents offered their daughter’s likeness up and sacrificed her privacy for the advancement of an organization she knows nothing about then obviously they’re not going to label her themselves..”

    Ah what remarkable FAITH you have in humanity. “Certainly if I am a traffic cop I would never run a light myself!” You’re right, we should never assume hypocrisy. We should always assume virtue, as you did here. So if you always assume virtue in a person, you should always assume every Christian you meet is also virtuous, unless he/she proves you wrong yes? If you agree, then let’s toss all those stereotypes to the curb and stop categorizing every Christian as a lunatic, ok? ;)

  • avatar

    Jim

    “”””Hey! You just labeled her a CHILD MODEL! How dare you! Take it back! Now! Let her choose for herself you tyrant! Let her choose for herself!

    You can spin it any way you want to Andy,””””

    do you really fail to see your own hypocrisy? She’s a child. She’s modelling in an ad. She is a child model. That’s not an ideological label. It’s a simple fact. You can spin it any way you want to, but it won’t make your point any less absurd.

    “””” Why? Because she is not old enough to even understand what the big fuss is all about to begin with.””””

    You fail at logic. This is exploitation only so far as child actors are being exploited, child musicians, child artists, singers, and performers of any kind are being exploited.

    Without doubt, some children legitimately are exploited, by unscrupulous parents. Take for example that kid from diff’rent strokes, whose parents pumped him full of hormones to stunt his growth. He was exploited.

    But in this case, where do you get off making such nonsensical rantings against perceived abuse that isn’t occuring? This little girl isn’t being exploited. The ad isn’t even implying that she agrees with the sentiment being put forth. Quite the opposite, in fact… that she’s not capable of such. She’s an example of untainted innocence. And that in fact, she has the freedom of choice to agree or disagree with the sentiment as she grows up and develops her own opinion.

    By your logic, no child’s image, voice, or expression of any kind should EVER be used in ANY form of marketing, because the child isn’t old enough to decide if he or she really wants to represent the product being marketed. You’re trying to paint a picture of hypocrisy where none exists. The image of a child is being used to inform people that children are the subject of the ad’s message.

    Think your statements THROUGH… Take the logical extension of your comments to completion, it might help you recognise your own ridiculous statements before you take the trouble of typing them and pressing the “submit comment” button.

    You have a lot of nerve accusing someone else of spin, I’ll accuse you of it yet again, you’re an abject sophist with an agenda, spewing fallacious tripe in an attempt to colour anything which goes against your personal doctrine as hypocritical, wrong, or just not nice. Grow up, and if you want to continue posting here without being the subject of such derision, start making less transparently fallacious and absurd sentences.

  • avatar

    keeyop

    interesting reading the discussion in light of the recently posted fact that the “ad girl” (and boy) are CHILDREN of EVANGELICALS… The parents missed the point of the campaign, and think it’s vindication: showing that “christian children are happy and free” (the reason they were chosen from stock photos). Ugh. …not trying to be a smart ass, just thought it should be added.

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