The Most Horrible Ad Ever

94 years ago, liar H.K. McCann launched his NYC ad agency with the slogan "Truth Well Told." That was a big fat lie. Advertising copywriter Copyranter brings you instances of advertising lies and the lying liars who sell them.

It's a lot of fun making fun of advertising every week. Ha ha, Kenneth Cole's a heel. Ha ha, Donny Deutsch is a cad. Ha ha, I'm a lazy shit. But then one week, somebody emails you an ad that's not fun, and hits you so personally, it makes you sick.

The Most Horrible Ad Ever

The above ad is from 1981, which was around the time that asbestos manufacturers were starting to take serious heat for their cancer-causing product.

"Asbestos contains fire, cannot burn and holds up after metal and glass have melted away, giving vital time for people to escape," reads the third paragraph copy. Also, note the tagline. For New Yorkers, this ad is of course ridiculously, tragically ironic. But it is not as a New Yorker that this ad hits me so hard. It's as a son.

Continuing with Overshare Month here on Gawker, my father has asbestosis of the lungs, thanks to working for 37 years as a millwright-pipefitter at a DuPont plant. His condition, and that of many of his now dead co-workers, was kept secret for years by plant physicians.

He's been having sharp pains around his heart the last few weeks. These pains can be the first and only warning sign of Mesothelioma—lung cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos particles. Once you're diagnosed, you likely have less than a year left. The fact that my dad was a serious runner for 30 years is probably the only thing that's saved him. Doctors are baffled by his ability, at age 70, to kayak faster and longer than athletic men half his age. In 15 years of my own competitive running, I beat him in a road race once.

A thin-slice CAT scan showed no change in his lungs and no tumors, thank fucking goodness. My father deserves to live to 100, and I believe he may yet do it.

I'm sorry for the bring-down. Let's all return to the warm embrace of sarcasm!

The Most Horrible Ad Ever


Dad.

Previously: Let's Write Some Hooker Ads!