Beware the Chair

This ad campaign uses a radio controlled wheelchair to chase down unsuspecting passers-by and frighten them into osteoporosis awareness. The wheelchair is depicted as a predatory animal, lying in wait to claim another victim. The music is equally as suspenseful, adding tension to the scene. At the end, stark large letters intone “Stand up for osteoporosis. Before you can’t.”

The message is clear: hate and fear the wheelchair! Instead of a useful tool for getting around, the eventual use of a wheelchair must be avoided at all costs. The harassed people exclaim that they “want no part of it”, and the stigma against wheelchair use is unnecessarily and irresponsibly perpetuated.

Update: after an outcry by wheelchair users, the video has been made private on YouTube. The organizers removed it from the Beware the Chair website, and posted the following apology:

Osteoporosis is a huge problem in this country, and the world. When we set out to raise awareness about the risks, our intention was to spark interest and dialogue so people would take measures to protect their bones. Beware the Chair was built to try and help in some small way.

However, we unintentionally offended a community of people in the process, and for that we are deeply apologetic. We want to let everyone know that you have been heard, and that each and every comment was taken seriously.

The campaign is ending as of today.

The original intent was to prevent something preventable: osteoporosis claims the independence, and sometimes the lives, of thousands of people around the world.

So now we respectfully ask for your help.

Share the facts. Encourage someone you love to ask their doctor or get a bone scan. Visit one of the many organizations out there with vital resources. And spread the word.

Because even as this campaign ends, its mission does not.


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