Since fake pharmaceutical ads for a drug called “Obay” starting appearing across Ontario (and elsewhere) last week, everyone from street artist Frank Shepard Fairey (aka OBEY) to Scientologists to comedian Maggie Cassella has been fingered as the culprit behind them.
Last Friday, three days after the ads seem to have launched, we traced them, with no small amount of confidence, to a substantially less dramatic source––Colleges Ontario, an advocacy organization representing twenty-four colleges across the province. The organization would neither confirm nor deny their involvement to either Torontoist or, several days later, The Star, but still told us all to wait a few weeks for…something. As far as mysterious ad campaigns go, this one was almost perfect: only breadcrumbs to trace back to the source, a city left to talk about the ad and its message and what it all meant (which, of course, was precisely the point).
But it’s finally official: Rob Savage, Colleges Ontario’s Director of Communications, called Torontoist moments ago to confirm that Colleges Ontario is indeed behind the ads, and the organization just sent out a press release with information about a media launch event next Monday at (fittingly) Centennial College that promises to reveal “the news behind Obay and its side effects on Ontario’s Post-secondary Education.” Torontoist will be there.
Photo by sniderscion from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.