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No one knows

OOH…Here’s One Thing — "if you could put anything on a billboard, what would it be?"

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Lamar digital

OOH…Here’s One Thing

by Jim Johnsen,
Managing Director, Johnsen, Fretty & Company


No one knows

“…what it’s like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes”


We interrupt this program for a special announcement.  I usually like to keep it light and funny (well as funny as I can be which ain’t much).  But after hearing the news that a 3rd kid in the high school where my kids attended school committed suicide this weekend, bringing the tally to 3 for the month of May, I felt the need to do something.  So here is my pathetic shout out.

Almost all of us have been touched by suicide in one form or another.  But does anyone else feel like its approaching an all new epidemic level amongst our youth?  I was blind to these statistics until I checked the CDC website (and a few other places):

  1. It’s one of the leading causes of death in the U.S, especially for 15-24 year old’s
  2. Roughly 46,000 Americans die from suicide each year (125 per day)
  3. Each suicide leaves behind at least 6 people who are left behind with pain and grief of immeasurable proportion
  4. Quote from Healthline Article (reference below): “I did know, on some level, that my death would be painful for the people I loved. I can’t articulate how heavily that weighed on my heart…But after a certain point, when you feel like you’re burning alive, all you can think of is how to put the fire out as quickly as possible.”
  5. Approximately 1.2 million people attempt suicide each year…and 12 million people have thought about (at least the ones who reported).
  6. In 2019 the societal cost of suicide in the U.S. was estimated at $490 billion.  (Have I got your attention yet?)
  7. 90% of persons who attempt suicide and survive do not die of suicide.   Many, many, many are ecstatic that the suicide attempt was unsuccessful.

Thanks Johnsen, but what’s this got to do with outdoor?   Like a broken record, I say again we have the biggest megaphone in the world.  Digital makes us that much more efficacious as a megaphone ($0 production, quick turnaround, broadcast).   Isn’t it mental health awareness month?  Have we done enough yet?  I challenge you OAAA, agency and operator.  As Tim Ferris likes to ask during all his interviews, “if you could put anything on a billboard, what would it be?”

To get the ball rolling…here is one to think about…


“PLEASE Let Us listen”



Admen (and women)…show me the next Obie please.

Facts About Suicide (cdc.gov)
Suicide statistics | AFS
Suicide Statistics and Facts – SAVE
I Attempted Suicide. Here’s What I Want Suicide Loss Survivors to Know (healthline.com)
Suicide survivors face grief, questions, challenges – Harvard Health



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