When Marketing Turns Deadly

A few years ago some marketer came up with the idea to take dead bodies, skin them, arrange them in lifelike positions, infuse them with plastic, and make a whole lot of money displaying them in public. 

So now there are two companies touring the ghastly exhibitions around the U.S., spending millions on prime time TV ads in each locality where they set up shop. Their real customers are museums with whom they split the cash.

Apparently a lot of people want to see these ghoulish displays, because they keep on touring, so somebody must be buying a lot of tickets.

Now, besides the hideous TV ads, here is the problem: Most of those bodies were bought from prisons in China, a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world.

In China you can be put in jail and executed for the “crime” of being a Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim or for belonging to the indigenous population of one of China’s occupied territories, such as Tibet, Mongolia, Turkistan. Get the picture?

Investigative reporters got to wondering where a corporation could get so many bodies. Few people donate their bodies to science. Nobody donates them to traveling exhibits.

So reporters asked the two companies where they got the bodies. One claims to have documentation showing that most of the bodies were donated—but, get this, there is nothing that correlates the actual bodies with the documentation. So, trust them, because they are good guys. Uh-huh. Sure.

What motive could they possibly have for unethically obtaining bodies? How about money, lots of it? They do admit that they buy some bodies from Chinese prisons but assure us that the families gave permission. Do you believe that? Wanna buy a bridge?

As I understand it, even in the United States, most Chinese families refuse to donate organs of deceased family members. It is strongly against their beliefs. Do you truly think the families of dead people in China would give permission for the bodies of loved ones to be exhibited in public? 

The other exhibition company simply says they buy the bodies from Chinese prisons. They do not offer any proof of the origins of the bodies.

China is very cavalier with human life at best. But when money is involved, do you think they do not at least speed up the rate of executions so that the supply of bodies meets the demand for them?  

As if the exhibitions themselves were not perverted enough, the origins of the bodies they use to make their money are somewhat dubious at best—and truly hideous to contemplate at worst. How many young Tibetan monks and nuns are we seeing in those exhibitions, for example?

It reminds me of the perverted and decadent entertainment in last years of the Roman Empire. This is marketing gone way to far!

Just because you can do something, that does not mean that you should.

“I would never do anything like that,” you may say. But many marketing practices these days cause suffering or death of humans, animals, and whole ecosystems.

Pay attention to the origins of the products you sell. Who made them? Under what conditions? Who suffers because of them?

In an Internet world, “I didn’t know” is no longer an excuse. Think about it.

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