Bus Bench is an Infographic of Guilt

I’ve given a few talks on my work with self-surveillance, and there is almost always someone who asks, “What if someone doesn’t want to know about _____?” Fill in the blank with weight, health, pollution, or whatever. I usually respond with something like, “Then self-surveillance is probably not for them, and they can continue living in denial.” Maybe instead we should just force everyone to bite the bullet and face the facts. That’s what the above bus stop ad for FitnessFirst seems to be going for. When someone sits on the bus bench, the ad shows the the person’s weight on a big LED. Not only is it looking straight at that person, but it’s also up there for everyone else to see. I wish I could get a tape that showed people’s reactions.

[via directdaily via kottke]


  • That is a brilliant idea…the video of peoples reactions would be a great basis for there next tv/video spot.

  • “actually, I _am_ carrying a bowling ball in this bag”

  • Ha, yeah that is a great idea. But I would be worried about blowback to FitnessFirst. sure it could guilt someone into trying to lose weight, but it probably won’t align them with the person or company pointing the finger.

  • The biggest problem with this is that seats are often necessary for people with a variety of disabilities – include the kind of disabilities that, yknow, make working out difficult or impossible.

    But the company sure did get a lot of free publicity from this stunt!

  • I don’t like this. I think it’s mean to make an older or disabled person to have choose between having his/her weight on public display or waiting for the bus in comfort, and it’s an unethical invasion of privacy if people aren’t warned before they sit down (everybody can see that display). I also study public transit and it annoys me that this company and their cheezy marketing ploy is going to make this stop less comfortable for some riders. That’s really what public transit needs. Why not build your cruddy scales in car seats or chairs instead? It’s not like you aren’t weighed at the doctor or home scales cost more than $10.

    Here’s what I think we should do. Let’s have your checking/saving balance and credit score on display when you stand in front of an ATM. It would be so so socially positive, doncha know, teach ya to save and and it would confront those people who don’t live within their means with their wicked, wicked ways and shake them out of denial. After all, they effect us all and should reform themselves and be all perfect and thrifty like me. And then all those people can just go to fixyourfinances.com to get themselves fixed. That’s the ticket.

  • I agree with Addled and Chaser – pretty obnoxious. Although, I’m curious as to how many people even notice the connection between seat and displayed weight.

    Also, this ad is in the Netherlands – I wonder if weight has less of a stigma there?

  • What is the benefit? To irritate the ‘bench warmers?” I wouldn’t appreciate it.

  • I wonder what happens when more than one person sits on the bench?There looks like there is room for an adult and a small child.

  • Just rude, plain old rude in my opinion. Would you walk up to a stranger and ask them what they weigh? No. Bus benches should not be a way to judge people.

  • Yet another example of technology being used to invade personal privacy.