If we translate the poster in the pictures of Foundation ALS from Dutch to English it says: ’Ik ben inmiddels overleden’ which means ‘In the meantime I died’. Yes, you’re reading it correct: the people in the picture sadly lost their fight against ALS and they passed away.

Foundation ALS in The Netherlands photographed 9 patients with ALS in 2012. If one of the photographed patients would die, his or her picture would be used for an advertisement campaign. The last patient died in 2017, this is also when the campaign ended. The goal of this campaign is to stimulate people to donate for research of ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. ALS attacks certain cells in the brain and spinal cord needed to keep our muscles moving. Most people with ALS live on average 2-5 years after their first signs of disease.

As a Dutch resident, this campaign was seen everywhere: bus stations, newspapers, television and more. It doesn’t make you comfortable to see a ‘normal’ person pictured who sadly already passed away. However, awareness of ALS is so important. The campaign was a success: the name awareness increased from 20% to 90% (!!). The willingness to donate increased with 45%.

What do you think about this campaign? Would a campaign like this be a success in the United States? Does it go to far for you?

#netherlands #publicart #advertising #health

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Floris Steenvoorden

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