Canada

B.C. prostate ad bombs with TV networks

Some B.C. broadcasters won't run ad urging men to have prostate checked by showing doctor pulling time bomb from patient's behind.

Some broadcasters in British Columbia are refusing to run a public service ad that urges men to have their prostate checked for cancer by showing a doctor pulling a ticking time bomb from a patient's behind.

Dr. Larry Goldenberg, the director of the Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital, said he wanted the campaign to push some boundaries.

"It is a little over the top, especially the first time you see it," he acknowledged. "But the concept was [to] grab people's attention. They're not going to hit the station changer on the remote when this comes on."

They may not get the chance. Global Television, for one, refused to run the spot, which features a doctor reaching his arm deep into the man before yanking out the explosive device.

That scene is followed by a black screen displaying cancer statistics and the spoken message: "It's a ticking bomb. Don't wait."

"It was too over the top," said John Ridley of Global. "We just felt it didn't suit the audience we reach on a daily basis."

CBC was not approached to run the ad.

Marketing analyst Lindsay Meredith, who teaches at Simon Fraser University, said ads are becoming more extreme these days because they have to be in order to stand out.

Canadians are exposed to about 5,000 messages every day, on TV and radio, in newspapers and magazines, and on billboards and bus shelters. That's compared to only 1,200 a day several years ago.

"There is a greater and greater push on advertising to come up with ads that get noticed," Meredith said.

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