“Social distancing ad depicting man thrown overboard pulled by Oregon Health Authority” isn’t a headline I expected to read today. But it’s the OHA, so anything is possible. I mean, you might think that the Oregon Health Authority would be a little less tone deaf, but this is the group who sent out a pediatrician in a clown costume to announce Covid deaths, so we have to temper our expectations.

See the ad here:

It’s not a particularly creative or interesting ad in my view, but worse, it’s trying to take a humorous tone. I think most of us, after about a year of Covid quarantines, lockdowns, social distancing and so forth, aren’t really in the mood for a haha—especially given the ineptitude the OHA has displayed. 

Anyway, The Oregonian article provides details: 

The Oregon Health Authority has pulled an ad that depicted a crew of fishermen throwing a man overboard in a life raft in order to practice safe social distancing. The ad did not sit right with some in the coastal community of Newport and their mayor spoke up about it.

In a letter to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Tuesday, Newport Mayor Dean Sawyer asked that the OHA immediately take down the ad.

“This is very insensitive and disturbing to the families of our local fishing fleet in Newport,” the letter read.

Sawyer goes on to say that a crew member of a ship going overboard “should not be joked about by the Oregon Health Authority,” and that the commercial “brings back terrible memories” to Newport families that have lost a loved one to sea.”

The OHA’s excuse statement and half-apology is predictively lame:

In a statement, OHA said: “Oregon Health Authority is incredibly sorry to hear about this loss and we wish the families involved our heartfelt condolences. This ad was produced and filmed in early January, well before the recent accident on the Oregon coast. In light of the accident, we understand the concerns it raises in coastal communities.”

It’s like they refuse to acknowledge that the ad was fundamentally flawed. Even now they believe they just had poor timing. If not for that, presumably they’d have no problem joking about a pandemic that’s killed over 500,000 people in the United States. Again, I’m not surprised.