Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Truth (?) In Advertising

Apparently, the war for the hearts and minds of mankind is being waged on the sides of buses. Last year there were stories of religious folks and unbelievers buying advertising space on the sides of buses proclaiming their message.

Today's New York Times has a story about the Atheist Bus Campaign that's doing the same thing. The messaged in that campaign reads "There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." Fine by me, but why "probably?" Nietzsche isn't famous for saying "God is probably dead." It sounds more agnostic than atheist, anyway. Turns out it's down to British advertising laws:

But the element of doubt was necessary to meet British advertising guidelines, said Tim Bleakley, managing director for sales and marketing at CBS Outdoor in London, which handles advertising for the bus system.

For religious people, advertisements saying there is no God 'would have been misleading,' Mr. Bleakley said.

'So as not to fall foul of the code, you have to acknowledge that there is a gray area,' he said.
I wonder if the same is true in reverse? Will the rejoinder from the religious folks be limit to, "uh huh, there probably is a God"? I somehow doubt that the same "gray area" would be relevant.

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