People for Good ad campaign

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People for Good ad campaign

Has anyone seen these ads around? Advertising 'good deeds' on behalf of

I thought it was a little strange that a national ad campaign is reminding us to smile and say "thank you", but I also thought it was offensive that an ad campaign would label itself as a social movement.

I've written a response here:

I'm wondering if anyone has encountered these?

Issues Pages: 
Maysie Maysie's picture

I saw one at Greenwood subway station. It told me to smile at a stranger. I ignored it and proceeded to glare at every person I saw. I felt much better.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Gross. Good blogpost, hammer.


From the article:

Rather than a blue-print for societal improvement, the vast majority of suggestions serve as a primer on basic human courtesy: hold doors open, smile, say thank you, call instead of text (it’s so much more personal that way!), give someone a high-five, call your mother, start a non-work related conversation, give up a seat, practice proper driving etiquette, etc. etc.

These are, of course, things we should do already, without the insistence of a national ad campaign. Saying “thank you” is a behavioural staple of good people everywhere, as is participating in non-work related communication. But is a moral renaissance – of revived common courtesy and basic conversational etiquette – enough to fix the world?

It certainly is true that people are generally less polite than in times previously, as documented, for example, by [url=]Douglas Morris[/url] in examining how urban sprawl has influenced human behaviour. But that lack of politeness is a symptom of the larger problem. Sure, you can train yourself to smile or say hi to people, but does it really work? Retail workers are trained to do just that, yet off camera many of them tend to complain quite loudly about people. The real reason such impolite behaviour perisits is because we live in a society that alienates us from each other. To take Maysie's point, it tends to re-inforce itself, as you are going about your business, you feel alone and alienated, maybe you glare at people or you snap and yell at someone else. This person then feels bad about what happened, feels more alienated, and then runs into someone else....

Basic community standards can only apply in actual communities, and actual communities have by and large been destroyed in our culture. Addressing this takes real effort at community building and goes beyond merely faking pleasant behaviour.