I am all for fighting AIDS and helping third world countries. I am even for the use of shocking material to make people aware of important issues…but there is something utterly wrong with this celebrity-centered campaign: it pure deshumanization. Buy Life aims to raise money to fight AIDS in Africa and India, which is a noble cause.The marketing campaign however seems to be an extension of the “culture of death” that permeates today’s mass media.
Showing dead artists who “sacrificed themselves”, the campaign urges you to do the same by texting to “90999” – a rather odd choice of number. Some of the sacrificed celebrities are Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys and Willow Smith. The website buylife.org is filled with death and sacrifice-related elements. Here’s a screenshot of the site.
But the most disturbing aspect of the campaign is the “Buy Life” bar-code t-shirts that sets weird precedents.
There something intrinsically wrong with the concept of “buying life”. Is human life a commodity that can be dealt in a monetary transaction? Well this is the “face value” of the shirts and the message our brain subliminally registers. To make this even weirder, the barcode on the t-shirts are REAL. They can be scanned with a smart phone to effectively “buy life”. You therefore become a walking-talking purchasable product.
A charity is the ultimate way to introduce such things without getting any backlash. I mean, how can you be against curing AIDS? You can’t. Is charity being used to bring forth dehumanizing concepts into the mainstream? I sincerely hope not, but, seeing the budget involved in this, there might be a higher agenda there.
One thing is for sure: you’ll never see me walking around with a damn barcode on me!