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What's Up Your Butt Colon Cancer Billboards Ad Campaign Canceled

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

"What's up your butt?" The question may be a hard one for viewers of ads showing pained expressions -- billboards that don't exactly stimulate the idea of color cancer screenings as positive.

A Washington state health board now cancels its endorsement of the slated billboards which were voted to arrive to the Tri-Cities area.

The campaign itself has become the butt of a joke. The Benton Franklin Health Board doesn't seem to see humor in the billboard ads it once voted on. The ads feature people with pained expressions, along with the campaign's "What's up your butt?" slogan.

The cause was good -- the execution, not so much.

The cause: to get Tri-Cities residents of Washington checked out for colon cancer. Colon cancer is a preventable, survivable form and studies show one-third of local Benton and Franklin county residents age over 50 have not been tested.

The execution: billboards with a bad slogan and even worse facial expressions.

The butt billboards had previously gone up for display in nearby Yakima, Washington, to raise colorectal cancer awareness and encourage people to get screened for the disease.

Perhaps the billboard ad campaign achieved one of the two goals -- but the pained expressions accompanying bold text reading "What's up your butt?" probably didn't lead to a huge increase in colorectal screenings.

One of the more shocking aspects is that a board of people in the Tri-Cities area actually voted for the terrible ads: the Benton Franklin Health Board had been shown images of the billboards already displayed in Yakima, Washington, along with the slogan -- and health board members voted in favor of the campaign. Yes, in favor.

The board had no less than unanimously agreed on the ads to (supposedly) boost colorectal cancer awareness. The Board voted April 20, 2011, to allow the district's name to be used on the billboards -- with funds paid by the Yakima Health District through leftover grant money. But then came the "morning after". Literally the next day, complaints from residents rolled in -- with the expressed belief that perhaps the butt billboard ads may just be in poor taste.

The Benton Franklin Health Board Board Chairman, Jim Beaver, called for a rescind of the previous unanimous vote.

So the Board reversed itself -- once again, with a unanimous vote.

The Board apparently feels slighted and that it's gotten a bad rap with publicity over the "What's up your butt?" ads. A spokesperson says the Benton Franklin Health Board didn't understand that it had a choice, really -- that it believed the billboards were coming to Tri-Cities whether the Board voted for them or not. So, the idea is basically that the Board figured it might as well put its name on the ads -- as an endorsement -- if the ads were already going to be appearing anyway.

Apparently the Board didn't realize it had a choice in whether the "butt" ads appeared in town.

Just a reminder: just because your name's appearing doesn't mean it's appearing in lights.

Oddly, there's been no mention of the creative genius charged with instuting the ad campaign of infamy.


Benton Franklin Health Board
7102 W Okanogan Place
Kennewick, WA 99336
United States
Phone: (509) 460-4200
46° 13' 24.1896" N, 119° 12' 58.518" W
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