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Monday, 27 October 2008

The Atheist Bus Campaign

I’m a student right now and I haven’t actually decided what kind of career that I want to follow once I’ve got out of education. Not that I should be worrying TOO much, I’ve still got three and a half years before I’ve done my degree and need to go out and make my mark on the world, but it’s still something I’m trying to think about.

My speciality is probably Graphic Design. The problem with this is that the natural path for a graphic designer would be to work in businesses for big corporations, advertising, mainly, although I guess there’d be some scope for designing packaging, sleeves, etc. I’m all for getting consistent work at a decent pay, but I’m not entirely comfortable with brainwashing the masses into paying businesses lots of money for goods and services they don’t really need. But I don’t have to…

People wouldn’t usually be so picky about who they’d work for, but I’m tempted to offer my services only for ethical causes. Charities, raising awareness about social issues and similar need their own advertising, and working for clients in those areas would cover both “doing my bit” for people as well as putting food on the table.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, now, and I’ve had my eye out for various advertising campaigns with purposes other than rinsing people for money. Last Tuesday, a news report about buses with this slogan written over their sides caught my eye:


The Atheist Bus Campaign launched on the 21st of October and aims to cheer up atheists who do not have a God to rely on to get them out of the looming depression caused by the Credit Crunch. But, as expected, there’s been a bit of a stink about it.
Okay, the word “probably” was a good move, it’s certainly not as insistent or insulting as the religious propaganda you sometimes get handed by people on the street, telling you if you don’t believe in God you’ll burn in Hell for all eternity. But then the second line doesn’t make all that much sense… if this is to cheer up Atheists because they’re worrying as they have no faith to turn to, surely more denial of God’s existence isn’t what’s going to help… okay, maybe I sound like I’m being a bit pedantic, but they’re spending £11, 000 on a crap joke that’s going to piss off a large percentage of Britain.
Yes, it is refreshing to see Atheists’ words being heard for a change, but is this really worth it?

The organisers say this will “help raise awareness of atheism in the UK, and hopefully encourage more people to come out as atheists”. I wasn’t aware that atheism was something to be ‘aware’ of… Sure, it’s good to learn about religions, their customs, their way of life and such, but learning about atheism… well… they don’t believe in God, isn’t that the long and short of it? It just feels to me that this campaign is a waste of time and money, with the effort far surpassing the reward.

And if anyone’s interested, I’m agnostic.

For more information about the organisers of the Bus Campaign, see


Artsadmin said...

ok Lisa fancy taking on a brief?
can you come up with an alternative slogan for the bus campaign?

Lisa said...

I guess if atheists wanted a campaign to champion their beliefs, they'd need something a bit more definite, but they had to use the word "probably" so as to not offend religious groups.

How about something along the lines of:
Enjoy yourself, look after yourself, love yourself.
It's not like an invisible man in the sky is going to do it for you.

Hmm... needs to be shortened, perhaps...