Atheist Bus Campaign in… New York City! June 19, 2009

Atheist Bus Campaign in… New York City!

New York City is finally joining the Atheist Bus Campaign!

This month, some two dozen buses will roll through Manhattan, debuting our 12-foot long, three foot high message, “You don’t have to believe in god to be a moral or ethical person”. Look for the signs the first day our buses maneuver through the city in late June.


Now, we just need a ginormous building-sized atheist poster in Times Square.

I like the message: Simple, straight-forward, unoffensive. It targets people who are already atheists but may not know there are others like them out there.

NYC Atheists is sponsoring the ads and you can help them offset costs by contributing to the ad fund.

(Thanks to Brian for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I’ll be honest… while I like the concept, especially when it’s done in response to some “You’re going to Hell” ad campaign by religious interests, I think there are better uses for the money.

  • Not exactly catchy is it. Apparently, there are no atheists in marketing.

  • GG

    Damn good message. It just isn’t that hot.

    Are bus campaigns the new trend? What’s next, marketing blimps over sports games?

  • Brian C Posey

    GG is a genius. Image a blimp over a football game.

    Hey, there’s no god up here. Now watch the game.

  • Stephen P

    All right for a billboard maybe, though not terribly inspired. But it’s a bit long for a bus ad. A message to be read off the side of a moving bus shouldn’t be more than about seven or eight words. Or do NYC traffic jams justify a longer message?

  • Stephen P

    GG is a genius. Image a blimp over a football game.

    Hey, there’s no god up here. Now watch the game.

    Now that is nice.

  • I’d have written “A God” rather than “God”, but maybe the US is less polytheistic than here.
    Agree the bus ads elsewhere have been slightly jazzier, but maybe this is copying the style of some religious bus ads? Religious ads seem to have the same lack of grab-you.

  • OBSirius

    And yet, there will be someone somewhere who will insist that this is an “attack on Christianity.” I’d put money on it.

  • Would it be an oxymoron to say that atheists too have “freedom of religion” in the Bill of Rights?

  • blimp slogan

    “SKY DADDY 1”

    with a red atheist A

  • Tony

    It’s not a very catchy slogan. Perhaps with people nonsensically feigning offence at “You Can Be Good Without God” the atheist bus campaigns are becoming increasingly bland.

  • llewelly

    I think this is a wonderful message, and a good use of the money.

  • llewelly

    Not exactly catchy is it.

    ‘catchy’ is how one markets to the mindless.

  • Fizzy

    Catchy? No.
    Beautifully clear? Yes.

  • georgie

    Not so catchy, but I like it, I’ll keep my eye out. Maybe make a random comment to someone as it passes, like “hey that’s great!” I think it’s about time.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Well, I couldn’t give any less of a flying fuck about the nonsense of “catchiness”. (FWIW, Bill Hicks summed up marketing/advertising rather well.) The NYC bus messages are great and get right to the point. It’s exactly what theists need to see/hear/read.

  • The sign makes me think not of atheism, but of the difference between moral and ethical. I am not sure of the difference, so this sign ended up confusing the atheist who is typing this.

  • Tony

    Alright, I will rephrase: It isn’t terribly pithy.

  • Image a blimp over a football game.

    Hey, there’s no god up here. Now watch the game.

    I literally, laughed out loud. Thanks for that one.

  • Arnaud

    Awesome, I’ll be there right on time! I’m taking a flight from Brussels to New York in a couple days and staying there for a month. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    But it’s a bit long for a bus ad. A message to be read off the side of a moving bus shouldn’t be more than about seven or eight words.

    “You Don’t Have to Believe in God to be a Moral or Ethical Person”

    says the same as

    “You Can be Good Without God Belief”

    From 14 words to 7. Thus ends my marketing advice. (Are you listening NYC Atheists?)

    “Moral or Ethical” is the worst part since they are at least colloquially synonymous. If there’s a difference most people probably couldn’t say what it is. Say one or the other, not both.

  • fredthepig

    See, this is why atheists don’t get things done. A nice, well thought out campaign with a simple, non-aggressive message that won’t piss off the believers and all we do is bitch about semantics.
    Makes a fella proud.

  • Jane

    The 12-foot-long Atheist message on the sides of some 24 buses in New York City right now is the result of long and thoughtful consideration by some of us here at NYC-Atheists Inc. The first line is meant to shatter the notions of many people in New York that they “MUST” believe in god. When I was a kid and learned for the first time that I didn’t HAVE to believe in god, though everybody else did, it was a very shocking, awakening, freeing experience.
    Then we added the second line “to be a moral or ethical person.” This was meant to shatter another ingrained notion: that most people need god watching over them in order to be law-abiding and honest people.
    We’re saying: NO, Man, you can do it by yourself. You don’t need an invisible cop in the sky to make you do what’s best for humanity.
    “Moral” is different from being ethical. Moral generally refers to virtue imposed on you. Ethical refers more to moral principles from within yourself. There are nuances in the English language, we know, so we decided to use these words according to their colloqial and intuitive usages.
    We felt these two lines would communicate a lot while not offending any specific religion. We felt these words would get out our message to everyone, not just campy intellectuals.
    Much as we appreciate all of your suggestions about our message, we found most of them to be too ambiguous to reach the majority of viewers.
    I especially giggled at the blimp idea. But we’re dead serious this time around. Maybe next time, after people get more used to us, we can afford to be clever and humorous.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Jane spake,

    We felt these words would get out our message to everyone, not just campy intellectuals.

    And getting right to the point is the best route to take, IMO.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Ouch. Keith Olbermann (of MSNBC) just gave the NYC ad’s anonymous donor the bronze for his “Worst Persons In The World” segment. Why? Because the ad is about atheists coming out of the closet and not remaining anonymous. He didn’t have any problem with the ad’s message, though.

  • Jack

    People want a similar sign in FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. removed. The sign has a URL,, but can’t be found.

    Morals are for individuals and ethics are for business but the same. Good campaign. I like phrases like, Think Free, or “I find comfort in rationalism, knowledge, logic, freethought and freedom of critical thought”. I’d like to find a group of freethinkers that can counter and oppose psychopaths, narcissists, and the trend of those without a cop in the sky, or without morals and ethics seem to graduate to the top in powerful positions and wealth because then we end up basically in the same position having one ultimate authority. Today it seems to be the bankers.

  • Kevin Meizies

    The greatest advantage of being an atheist is that not only do you not believe in a god; you also don’t believe in souls whom believe that they are god like.

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