Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Has Memorial Sloan-Kettering finally discontinued its specious fake testimonials?

(click ads for closer look)
As I wrote last September, the woman above left looked pretty damn healthy for a cancer patient. That's because the cute redhead was one of several glowing-faced non-patient/models used surreptitiously by Sloan-Kettering to represent theoretical cancer cases as part of a new, ubiquitous New York City print campaign.
Well this month, the cancer center finally inserted an actual real patient into the mix, above right. She's "Joyce," and you can read her story at However, they're still using the models on the homepage. Just keep hitting Refresh to cycle through the fake patients. FYI: medical facilities usually put a disclaimer [such as: "model used for illustrative purposes only"] in fake patient ads.
(Fakery in adland is Standard Operational Procedure. There's fake lawyers, fake hot internet daters, fake chairmen of the board, fake Skoal brothers, fake office workers, and fake 13-year-old drunks.)
on Gawker:
The Fake Testimonial.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love screwing with peoples' minds by faking orgasms (I'm a guy).

12:01 PM  
Blogger JT Taylor said...


We've done testimonials and we're always careful to avoid misrepresentation of anything. Much less the actual patient.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Looked healthy for a cancer patient"???

What is that supposed to mean?

Do cancer patients have the word cancer tattooed on their face?

A lot of cancers give patients zero external symptoms, dumbasses.

It would be great if we could detect cancer by just LOOKING at people, but the real world is a little bit more complicated than that.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saying she "looks healthy for a cancer patient" is kind of lame--I have colon cancer, and people are always amazed when I tell them about my condition. There are plenty of other people I know with cancer who look as healthy as can be. Still, that doesn't make what S-K did any less cheesy...

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the same old argument we used to have with non-profit clients. They always want the people they represent to be cast in a good light (so as not to hurt their feelings, to show the positive possibilties of living with a disease, to give hope), and we'd have to argue that, if you're soliciting money, you've got to move donors to want to give. Which means playing on the pity heartsting a bit.

So no - you can't necessarily spot a cancer patient on th street. But yes - you really should be able to spot one in an ad for cancer treatment.

3:57 PM  
Blogger copyranter said...

Yes, lame comment. Sorry. That's not the point of the post, though.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it's a money issue? Over here, union rules stipulate that, if you use a non-union member in an ad, you have to pay the person, pay the union for the unionized actor you didn't use, and pay into the union pension fund.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work at MSKCC and we see all ranges of people, from athletic healthy-looking to sickly and in between. I agree that, for the most part, you cannot judge who has cancer. But also, the woman in the ad on the left looks much more ill than the "new" ad woman on the right, with hollower cheek bones and a pale white undertone that sick patients can sometimes develop.

12:41 PM  
Blogger copyranter said...

FOR THE LAST FUCKING TIME: The point of this post is that MSKCC is misleading comsumers with the ad at left—strongly inferring that the woman is being/has been treated for cancer by MSKCC when in fact, she not only is not a patient at MSKCC, she doesn't have cancer and is in fact, a FUCKING MODEL who was paid to be a fake patient for promotional purposes. NOW FUCK OFF, YOU FUCKING IDIOTS.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just don't know why you would write a post about how you think cancer patients should all look ugly, copyranter. I mean, jeez.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of your readers seem to have a hard time understanding your point. Bizarre.

4:52 PM  

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