The Economist asks, “Could you live a life like this?” in provocative outdoor campaign to get people talking about the Right to Die

11 Sep

Channels: Health

A recent survey by The Economist and Ipsos MORI highlights public attitudes towards doctor-assisted dying


As Rob Marris’s Assisted Dying Bill receives its second reading in the UK’s House of Commons today, The Economist ran an outdoor advertising campaign to get Londoners thinking about how they would like their last days to be lived. 

The campaign, created by AMV BBDO, ran for three days this week. For the first two days pedestrians in London saw digital billboards displaying the ceiling of a hospital room on a continuous loop. The view is one that a patient could have if lying in a hospital bed with no hope of that view ever really changing.  Today, the poster asks, “Could you live a life like this?” leaving Londoners to consider if they would like to live, or have their family members, live their final days like this. 

“During the months that I worked on the doctor-assisted dying cover story, I talked to people with life-limiting conditions, and heard others’ stories of their loved ones’ deaths. Many described feelings of great fear and helplessness. It’s clear that there is widespread support for the individual’s right to take control over the manner and timing of their deaths” said Helen Joyce, international editor of The Economist.

Alex Grieve, AMV BBDO Executive Creative Director, said: ““This is a complex and emotional subject. We wanted an idea that would provoke a response and make people consider their own position on this issue. The work is powerful in its simplicity by portraying the sense of claustrophobia and helplessness those in their final days often feel.”

The Economist has championed liberal values, whether in the economic, political or social arena, since it was founded in 1843. It was in September 1994 that The Economist first set out its argument in support of the individual’s right to die with dignity in its cover story from September 17th,‘The Right to Die’. In June this year, The Economist reiterated its position on why it believes the state’s role in doctor-assisted dying should be to provide clear guidelines and protections for the vulnerable on its doctor-assisted dying hub.

Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist, says: “For The Economist, the case for allowing doctor-assisted dying relies on personal choice and individual autonomy. Our liberal values and respect for human dignity mean that for this paper, doctor-assisted dying is a cause worth championing.” 

A short film of this outdoor campaign and the public’s reaction to it can be viewed on The Economist’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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