I'm creating an image, based on a vintage weight gain ad but featuring a new massage, and publishing it in as many major newspapers as I can afford to based on the money raised through this campaign.
Many people seem far more focused on the shape they are, rather than the shape they're in. It doesn't matter if you're "plus sized" (a very relative term - can you believe some people think Jennifer Lawrence is fat?) or slim to skinny if you're healthy. But if you're on the yo-yo diet treadmill you're mixing toy and exercise equipment metaphors while potentially endangering your health. As we say in the ad, there is no need to go hungry and uncomfortable all day just to conform to someone else’s idea of what you should look like for approval. And that's an important message to get out there.
In 2010, after seeing several friends and associates going on dangerous caloric or nutrient restrictive diets in desperate attempts to attain an ultra lean look I tried to tell them about the potential long term health risks.
The thing is, humans are great at seeing immediate risk ("SUV charging towards me! Moving would be a really good plan right now" or "That person flailing the knife about seems a tad imbalanced. Perhaps I should keep my distance"). We really suck at assessing long term risk though ("Cancer charging towards me! Meh, I'll keep smoking 2 packs a day. I'm not feeling the effects right this second" or "That person militantly espouses ideas that conflict with reality as we know it and seems a tad imbalanced. But they're hot. Perhaps I should sleep with them, maybe even date them, and I'm sure everything will turn out fantabulous")
So I decided to show, not tell. I went on a 100 day hunger strike, eating only between 200 and 500 calories per day... and usually closer to the 200. This was a dramatic (and foolish) stunt that transformed me into a walking, talking, whiney cautionary tale.
DO NOT DO THIS.
(I'm obviously sucking in my gut in the selfie; I snapped this pic wanting to see how much more room there was in my abdominal cavity.)
Yeah, I lost weight. At first I burned body fat for energy, but then my body rebelled and decided "screw this - we might need some of that sweet, sweet fat later. Let's burn muscle and organ mass instead". Also, 3 years later and eating less than most people my age and activity level, I've gained all the fat back. Not the muscle though.
So yeah... it sucked. I couldn't go out because some of my friends were jerks and would taunt me with food, others could barely mask the pain of seeing me waste away and grow weaker day by day. I was no fun. And I was doing it to myself. If you want to know more about it you can read my blog, starting on day 1, here. The daily articles range from mundane to educational but I've been told my emotional unravelling becomes very apparent.
I've done a hunger strike for a similar cause. It sucked for me, it sucked for the friends who had to watch it, and though it made an impact these sorts of things require more than one blip on the radar to get the message out.
So Here's The Plan
Sharp eyes will note my first words in this were "I'm creating an image..." As you can see it's well underway, but I plan to:
- Have a professional photoshoot with a model, plus post-production work, to emulate the vintage look of the model above but with full control over the copyright. I don't know who the model in my sample image is, or who holds the right to that photo, which makes me uncomfortable using it as-is. I've done past projects where models and photographers volunteered their time, but they're professionals and if all they did was volunteer they'd never eat. I'm budgeting to pay them a fair rate. if you know of a similar image in the public domain, I'm all ears.
- Complete the image using the new photo and fitting about 60 names (depending on the total length of the combined names) on the bottom per ad.
- Publish it as a colour ad in as many papers in as many major cities in North America as I can afford to based on the money raised.
If you can give a little, I'm glad for the support. For smaller contributions of currency all I can offer is my thanks and gratitude. But it's a LOT of gratitude!
Here is where the perks you can brag about start: listing the names of some of the contributors in the ad. This personalises the message as being from you to the reader; without your contributions I can't do this, so it's as much from you as it is me.
So how do you get your name on the ad?
Top 50: If you're among the first 50 people to give $50 or more, you're in. Read to the Conditions section to find out what happens after 50 people.
Top 20: (from the top 50) if you're among the first 20 to give $75 or more, your name will be among the first 20 names listed.
If you give $125 or more the above perk allows you to list the name of your business or organisation instead of your personal name.
Top 10: (from the top 20) If you're among the first 10 give $150 or more, your name will be among the first 10 listed.
If you give $200 or more the above perk allows you to list the name of your business or organisation instead of your personal name.
Clear as mud? Example: You contribute $125, and you're the 34th person to chip in. You're among the first 60 to give $50 or more, so your name will be featured in the ad (if you want it to). Let's say you're the 5th person to give more than $75, so your name will be among the first 20 names listed. And you paid $125, so instead of your personal name you can use your company name.
On 50 v. 60
I have 60 spots showing in the sample ad. I'm offering perks to the first 50 who give $50 or more. This is to ensure all 50 fit! Of whatever space is remaining for more names, I'll add the names of additional qualifying contributors.
If this thing goes significantly above the ask amount, and I can afford to run more ads in more papers, every subsequent ad will feature the names of the next set of donors at the $50 and up levels. As the number of donors $50 and up increases I have more money to run the ad in more cities, so it' s the ice cube tray effect... more names mean more money, which spills over into more ads placed, meaning more names published. Hooray! There may be an in-between phase, like if there are 137 donors and I only have room for 120 names.... so order (first come first served) still applies. B̶a̶t̶t̶e̶r̶i̶e̶s̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶i̶n̶c̶l̶u̶d̶e̶d̶.̶ ̶S̶o̶m̶e̶ ̶a̶s̶s̶e̶m̶b̶l̶y̶ ̶r̶e̶q̶u̶i̶r̶e̶d̶.̶ ̶B̶e̶ ̶s̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶d̶r̶i̶n̶k̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶O̶v̶a̶l̶t̶i̶n̶e̶.̶
Indiegogo allows you to give anonymously or with your name attached. If you want your name in the ad and qualify, please be sure to list your name.
Name lengths are limited to about 15 characters or less. There's a little bit of leeway where necessary, but let's keep it reasonable. This includes company names. If your name is longer and you're among those who qualify to be listed.
On the subject of names, only real personal names or businesses will be published. If your name is Tehra Dactyl, Mike Hunt, Phat Ho, Ivana Mandic, or similarly "open to interpretation", I may ask for ID. I may ask again for real ID. If your organisation is called The Aryan Sisterhood of Openly Bigoted Men Against Anyone Not As Pure As We, well then your name is too long. And you should probably re-evaluate a few choices you've made. And you probably won't have read this far in a positive message campaign anyhow. In short, common sense rules apply. nothing that could be construed as obscene or controversial to an average, thinking person. These sorts of listings might take away from the spirit of the ad.
Please provide your email address so I can contact you if I have to tweak your name or so I can let you know what paper/edition/page the ad with your name was published in, where logistically possible.
Well, that's it in a fat nutshell. Oh, if I've missed anything and you find some magic loophole to scuttle the project or win free pudding miles for life or some other exploit, the above is the spirit of the campaign. I reserve the right to tweak things where required to prevent anyone with smartypantsitis from wrecking it for others involved.
There is a reason newspaper ads, billboards, and a gazillion other ad outlets exist; people respond to them. individually we like to think we're above it... but we're really not. The images and messages impact us. So let's change the message to something encouraging and non-commercial. Let's remind women and men that it's what's inside - a healthy body and kind heart - that matters, not the silhouette of the container it's in.
Other Ways You Can Help
I know, I know, I'm not offering anything other than gratitude until about the $50 mark. If you can't afford $50 and my thanks for a smaller amount doesn't do it for you, but you still want to help, please share the campaign through whatever social media, blog, forums, etc. that you might frequent (and hopefully say some nice things about it to drum up interest so people will click the link)
That's it for now folks. And as we say in Johngreenlandia, don't forget to be awesome.