Dick Smith channels 1980s Grim Reaper AIDS ads with warning growth will destroy Australia

Entrepreneur Dick Smith has launched a harrowing television commercial, using the same voiceover artist who was behind the 1980s Grim Reaper AIDS campaign, in a bid to warn Australians of the irreversible consequences of continuous population growth.

The ad juxtaposes politicians constantly spruiking Australia’s growth against images of pollution, overcrowding, war, famine and natural disasters.


“We’re told that endless economic growth is the solution to all our problems,” the voiceover says as clips of politicians including Malcom Turnbull, Bill Shorten, Kevin Rudd, Joe Hockey, Penny Wong and Julie Bishop appear on a TV screen saying “growth”.

“But what if growth is the problem? Endless growth is the way of a cancer cell growing forever until it kills the host that sustains it,” the ad continues.

The ad claims our children will be living in a world with 11 billion people – “consuming and polluting more than our finite planet can withstand”.

Posting on his Fair Go website, Dick Smith, said: “The demographers tell us that in rich nations such as Australia, the next generation will live shorter lives than their parents while levels of unhappiness and mental illness will be rising.

“Surely our grandkids should have as good a life as we have had? That is a fundamental belief of our group. The prime aim will be to find ways to stabilise our population and to share the wealth better.”

Smith has sought to draw attention to the campaign by hiring voiceover artist John Stanton whose chilling words about the rise of the AIDS epidemic polarised Australians in 1987.

The ad also helped establish the profile of creative director Siimon Reynolds who made the ad for the National Advisory Committee on AIDS.

High-profile publicist Max Markson has been appointed by Smith to drive media interest in the campaign in the days leading up to its launch, capturing widespread mainstream media interest.

Smith has long been a proponent of limiting Australian immigration, warning that despite the size for the nation, it cannot sustain population growth at the current rate.

The ad was created by director Josh Mawer – who has also been behind ads for  Foxtel, The American Red Cross and Stoneleigh Wines.


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