Obay, From the Makers of BecauseISaidSo

cntowerI rarely write about ad campaigns but this Obay marketing effort has me intrigued. Ads have popped up all over Toronto promoting an obviously fictional drug called Obay. They're everywhere and I have no idea what they're for.

One ad shows a father and son with the caption "My son had ideas of his own. Obay put a stop to that". Another reads "My son used to have his own hopes and aspirations. Now he has mine. Thanks, Obay!" A third features a mother and daughter and reads "When Amy started thinking for herself, we had to nip it in the bud with Obay".

Some suggest it might be a campaign for Ontario colleges. Others thought it might be for Scientology. I like the colleges angle, as it would be a great campaign for institutes of higher learning, but I also think it could be a psa reminding parents it's okay to encourage independent thought.

It's like the "Lisa the Vegetarian" episode of The Simpsons when Lisa objects to dissecting a frog and then asks Lunchlady Doris when she lost her passion.

Skinner: Oh oh. Two independent thought alarms in one day. The students are overstimulated. Willie! Remove all the coloured chalk from the classrooms.
Willie: I warned ya! Didn't I warn ya?! That coloured chalk was forged by Lucifer himself!

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The first thing I thought when I saw the "OBAY" ad on the side of the Dundas streetcar was the Rowdy Roddy Piper film "They Live" where our future steroid familicide perpetrator reads secret messages through really cool sunglasses.

You're right, Mike. Probably a skillz college campaign. But world alien domination would be so much cooler!

February 20, 2008 @ 10:16 PM


This might provide a clue as to who's behind the big ad campaign:

February 21, 2008 @ 12:00 AM


This is also like the episode where Bart takes 'Focusyn', and begins to pay attention in class and obeys his parents. That ends with an MLB spy satellite shot down.

February 21, 2008 @ 12:53 AM


Whatever the source, I sure found them funny. I was on the Subway and I looked up are read it. I had to read it again. I knew it was for something but couldn't figure out the angle. Regardless they are acheiving their goal. So good work on their part.

February 21, 2008 @ 8:07 AM

Toronto Mike

They're the best ads on the subway right now, that's for sure. There was a great one right over my head as I was escaping the Second Harvest people.

This is the best viral marketing campaign to hit this city since "Who's Randy River?"

February 21, 2008 @ 9:02 AM

Toronto Mike

A.R., "Brother's Little Helper", the Focusin episode, had the ending that inspired this little Mark McGwire entry: http://www.torontomike.com/2005/03/the_big_mac_and_the_terrifying.html

February 21, 2008 @ 9:04 AM


The Second Harvest people. That was funny. They were all over Union Station and Bloor today.

February 21, 2008 @ 10:11 AM

Jason | GetYourOJ.com

That was actually kinda funny Not Mike Stafford, but I digress...

Mike, have you ever noticed the Sobey's logo? That looks like "obey" too.

February 21, 2008 @ 10:32 AM

Jason | GetYourOJ.com

Incedentally, Piper is one of the few who has been quite forthright about his drug use over the years. I'm still waiting for US congress to have a little chat with the WWE people..

not holding my breath though..

too much politics involved

February 21, 2008 @ 10:34 AM

Toronto Mike

As I feared, Mike Stafford has raised the bar for all of us.

February 21, 2008 @ 12:26 PM

Toronto Mike

I snapped a couple of pics on the subway today and added them to the entry.

February 21, 2008 @ 12:50 PM

Jason | GetYourOJ.com

Don't you mean Not Mike Stafford? ;-)

February 21, 2008 @ 4:51 PM

Ajax Mike

Speaking of Sobeys, the one I shop at regularly had the 'S' in their sign burn out. So the marquee read 'obeys - Ready to Serve'.

I suppose you get all kinds at 24-hour grocery stores...

February 21, 2008 @ 7:06 PM


Haha, social satire strikes again.

February 21, 2008 @ 7:07 PM


Nice simpsons reference. It is a call marketing idea. I think the NIN year zero campaign was the ultimate in subversive marketing.


February 22, 2008 @ 2:18 PM


Jason, you winking little prick, you email me stafford@640toronto.com if you have issues.

Otherwise, what's the point of posting (or not) on this web thingy?

Stafford (the real one, not the guy you wrote my boss about you punk).

February 26, 2008 @ 4:51 PM

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