I recently wrote a blog where I pulled an article from the UK Telegraph saying that our movement is nothing more than the "least inspiring movement in recent years". 

 

I am adamant that one of the main reasons for this and other types of negative press out there is because of the billboard campaign by American Atheists. The billboards are inflammatory. They are not thought provoking or lead to thoughtful debate or discussion. They are insulting and I am frustrated that this is how American Atheists think our movement should be perceived and represented. I have wrote to the Chairman of the Board of AA and asked him to reconsider this campaign. Although the idea of the billboard I'm all for, what they say needs to make people say or think "wow, that's great, and it's something I want to check out further".  We need to do better!


What are your thoughts on this? Do we need to write to American Atheists via petition?

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I love them - and I want some wine!
Kris thanks for the comment. I agree, the billboard campaign is not a bad one and I'm happy that there is media coverage. But I think the same results or goals could be achieved without being insulting. I love a good argument and getting out there is something we have to do. We have to argue and debate and stir the pot and call people out for their irrational beliefs but in the right forum. But it's how people react to us that matters to me. If we were the Jehovah Witnesses of Atheism and would go door to door, would you want them to slam the door in our face because of preconceived notions that come from the coverage of those billboards or something they saw about us on Fox, or would you rather have them crack the door and be open to listen to you? That's all I'm saying.

Advertisements have two main purposes, to ensure that loyal customers is reaffirmed about the quality of the product they prefer, and to convince customers of other products (including no products) that the quality of the advertised product is better than the other offerings. Though you may argue that the ads are not for a 'product', they are, just as ideas submitted to journals are attempting to 'sell' new knowledge. Advertising is not only the art of convincing, it is a whole scientific field with its own scientists producing knowledge which can be applied to best spread our message.

As such, the ad campaign seem to be better suited at the first purpose and perhaps less so at the second. Seeing as the product of atheism is pretty much in its infancy, it is the preferred way of entering the marketplace. By creating a splash the media notices, a large amount of free publicity is gained, and the effect of the message is increased substantially.

Not quite sure where you will find support from me that the campaign is something I like. I only stated that from a marketing perspective, it pretty much follows the rule book.

You are free to have an opinion on the message of the campaign, but how it's conducted indeed follows the principles of marketing. The concept of 'selling' atheism is quite new - we don't knock on doors, we don't leave our books in hotels, we don't have any symbols, etc - and until recently we did not put up billboards.

The message will need some fine tuning as we explore the avenues of advertising our ideas, but I staunchly support that we do it in the most effective manner, of which this is actually a very good example. Our best weapon is knowledge, and to not use our knowledge of marketing to market our knowledge, is not the rational way to approach it.

Leave the marketing to the marketeers, they are the experts in getting messages across.

Here is one more I forgot to add in:

And here it in a magazine ad. :]
Excellent - I like the positive

I can go either way on this subject depending on the location...When driving from north to south or east to west... I see so many religious billboards promoting fear that it makes me sick.. 

One thing that I have noticed though.. they have their billboards peppered around here and there.. but whenever you see a large number of them right in a row after around 3 or 4 of them you see the same thing... a big sign that says !ADULT!

 

The most interesting of these occasions was driving to Chattanooga.... Giant cross.. Giant cross Billboard... Giant Cross... Billboard... Fireworks.. Billboard... LARGEST ADULT STORE IN THE COUNTRY! and so on..... 

 

To think that they are aloud to target things that they find immoral and they are obviously targeting these places.. yet they get offended when they are targeted by anything is just the norm.. 

 

As well though I do think that David Silverman could do a better job as a representative for atheists he is the leader of a group of atheists not the leader of us all..

 

 

 

What are some example of their billboards that are inflammatory?

I agree that the recent crop of billboards from American Atheist were poorly thought through. I dislike the KNOW factor they are employing. To me it feels like it could tray some in a sticky spot. We say that theists don't really KNOW their god is real, yet us claiming to KNOW seems a double standard. These recent adverts are much more likely to prod the religious that the previous ones were. I'd prefer if the positives of Atheism were the focus. 'Don't believe in god? You're not alone', There's probably no god, so enjoy you life', 'Imagine no religion', Atheist quotes, etc etc are all much better in my book.

 

Whilst it is true that the recent AA adverts aren't as negative or offensive as 'Atheist's Hate America', or the heaps of hell billboards. I feel that we shouldn't stoop to that level and be the bigger people.

 

Cheers!

I agree, James.  Well said.

I LOVE THE BILLBOARDS AND THE MESSAGE especially the myth one that was displayed around dec 25th. 

the problem with us is that we want to someway take the higher ground (in our eyes) by being respectful of the religions but the same religions don't give a shit about us. that is the same reason why conservative republicans can push their agenda through congress and the liberal and moderates are just sitting and debating and don't get anything accomplished. examples would be the abortion debate and equal rights for homosexuals. 

sometimes the more inflamtory the message the more discussion it gets, and the audience is closet atheists who need to know they are not alone when the other side is every day pushing their agenda on them.

liberals and moderates need to learn from conservatives and take it to them. i think they should ask GAYTOR for some quotes from the bible and publish them as he is really good with them like the ones about killing a kid if he speaks back to his parents, or killing a person if he works on the sabath etc.

u can't let them pick and choose which part of the bible they want to listen. it is all tied up.....sorry little drunk but I LOVE THE BILLBOARDS......the confrontational the better.......we need our presence on the highways too.....

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