Osocio NL

Not every suicide note looks like a suicide note

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 24-08-2008 22:34 | Category: Health

This cross media campaign from the Canadian Looking Glass Foundation was launched last month. The foundation focus on eating disorders. As I noticed before posting about eating disorders, it is one of the most difficult issues to campaign about.
There is a distorted perception about eating disorders. What people know and understand about them is shockingly different from the truth. Eating disorders are the deadliest of all mental illnesses. This campaign, made pro bono by agency DDB Vancouver, tries to educate and expand the public’s knowledge of this disease.
“The objective of this campaign is to educate the public and lessen the stigma attached to a very real and life-threatening disease” says Cindy Dobbe, president and co-founder of the Foundation.

Each of the three 30-second PSAs contrast the behavior of a woman suffering from an eating disorder, compulsively trying to control her weight, to expectations most healthy Canadians hold. Each of the three TV spots end with: “Not every suicide note looks like a suicide note, followed by The Looking Glass logo and voiceover “help us give hope to those suffering with eating disorders.”

“To articulate the severity of eating disorders, the campaign’s strategy and tagline profess, ‘Not every suicide note looks like a suicide note.’,” says Daryl Gardiner, associate creative director, DDB Canada. “Our intention is to illustrate that seemingly innocent signs are actually clues that a loved one may unknowingly be on a path towards self-harm. The campaign’s tone reflects both the seriousness of this disease and optimism for those afflicted, and leaves viewers with a positive message of hope.”

The campaign contains three TV spots, four radio spots, a redesign of the Looking Glass website, three banner executions, regional newspaper ads, regional out-of-home wild postings and four ambient items.

Various ambient objects, based on real-life confessions by sufferers, where scattered in various locations throughout Vancouver.  Each execution also includes a call to action to visit Lookingglassbc.ca to learn more about eating disorders.

A hairbrush tangled with an abundance of hair and a label that reads:  “Sufferers from anorexia lose much more than weight.”


A spool of thread with the grisly story:  “In an effort to end a self-destructive cycle of binging and purging Monica D. passed out attempting to sew her lips shut.”


A broken toothbrush with the message:  “Attempting to purge, Jane B. broke a toothbrush off in her throat and choked.”


City lamp posts are transformed into a circular chit carousel featuring dangling slips of paper with food orders written on them.  The slips show various food orders with all the pieces of the order “held.”  The slips are signed off with the message: “Not every suicide note looks like a suicide note.  Learn more about eating disorders at lookingglassbc.ca.”


Looking Glass Foundation
DDB Vancouver


Comments about Not every suicide note looks like a suicide note

I feel the reason eating disorders appear so distorted, is that diet companies are co-opting strategies used by eating disordered people. Such as obsessive calorie counting, watching food intake, over exercising. I’m a part of the Size Acceptance movement, and those of us in it are trying to end the constant media barrage of ads saying what size a person should be.

Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You also cannot tell someone’s health simply by looking at them. These are just a few of the statements that the Size Acceptance community believes in. There is more information out there regarding prejudice against fat people, but there also is an acceptance that there’s nothing wrong with being thin as well. The problem is when we say there’s only one size everyone should be, and there will always be people who cannot attain that size without seriously harming their bodies.

Health should come before image. These days it’s extremely hard to separate true health, from the media and society ideal of health which involves being thin vs eating healthy and exercising without worrying about weight.

So it’s become easier to camoflauge eating disorders under the guise of dieting more now than ever. There needs to be a change, and have health be the focus again, not body size.

Posted by Jackie | 10-01-2009 05:59

Comments about Not every suicide note looks like a suicide note

While I absolutely appreciate what your foundation is trying to do, I have issues with the TV ads. I have an unspecified eating disorder. EDNOS. I am 24 and a size 22. Yet I starve myself, binge eat, purge through chewing food and spitting it out and diet. One of the biggest problems with finding and getting treatment is that myself and many loved ones of mine can’t find many people who even RECOGNIZE unspecified eating disorders. I have had MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS ask me what it is. Part of the reason why people are uneducated is because the media only highlights Anorexia and Bulemia. If you want to really make a difference, please do your research and encompass all eating disorders, sexes, and body types in your next ads. Thanks.

Posted by Fallon | 22-11-2012 16:13

My comment


Your comment will not be visible until a moderator approves it.

Some rights reserved 2005-2013 Osocio/Houtlust.
Disclaimer. Terms of use. Privacy statement.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Support us

Do you like our blog? Support us with a donation.
We're non-commercial. We all make Osocio pro bono in our spare time and we can use some support.

image of a graduation cap

Recent in Academy

Branding a time-bound campaign, Forest & Bird did it.

It’s not new but it is not often used: branding for a time-bound campaign. The kind of branding used for temporary purpose. Forest & Bird did it recently for their Love Nature: Vote 2014 campaign. New Zealand’s largest independent conservation organisation wanted nature back on the political agenda. The future…
Read more

Can fundraising marketers recreate the #icebucketchallenge?

Yesterday, it finally happened. Somebody challenged me to the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. If your internet connection has been broken all summer, it’s this year’s big meme. You can read about it here. To be honest, I felt that the movement had passed its high-water mark when I saw…
Read more

About Osocio

Osocio is dedicated to social advertising and non-profit campaigns. It’s the place where marketing and activism collide. Formerly known as the Houtlust Blog, Osocio is the central online hub for advertisers, ad agencies, grassroots, activists, social entrepreneurs, and good Samaritans from around the globe.
Read more

(the about page is also available in Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese 汉语/漢語, Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano, Nihongo 日本語, Ivrit עברית, Filipino, Polski, Português, Russian Русский язык, Slovenčina, Suomi, Svenska and Türkçe)