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Canadian retailer Simons sparks controversy with reflection on assisted dying

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Canadian retailer Simons sparks controversy with reflection on assisted dying by Tree Elven on 09/01/2023
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Canada's 182-year-old department store La Maisons Simons - usually known simply as Simons - stirred mixed reactions with this 30-second campaign tackling the taboo topic of assisted dying. While many are outraged, there are many who find its 'All Is Beauty' message inspiring and comforting, and a necessary evolution in the normalisation of this highly-charged area. Outcry is not only centred around individual emotional response but also focuses on the societal implications of legislation. Canada's 2016 Medical Assistance In Dying (MAID) law was updated in 2021 and is currently in the international headlines because the new version allowed for people with mental illness to access the services as of March 2023. As a result of ethical, medical and societal concerns, that date is being challenged at time of writing (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/18/canada-medically-assisted-death-delay). Since the updating of the legislation, there have been reports indicating that Canadians suffering from poverty and/or disability and other severe limiting factors as opposed to intolerable physical pain / terminal conditions are attempting to avail themselves of MAID. It came out in the same year that the family-run retailer changed its CEO for an outsider for the first time in its history. Outgoing CEO Peter Simons told Canada's The Message publication: “It’s obviously not a commercial campaign. It’s more an effort to use our freedom, our voice, and the privilege we have to speak and create every day in a way that is more about human connection. And I think we sincerely believe that companies have a responsibility to participate in communities and to help build the communities that we want to live in tomorrow, and leave to our children.” What do you think of the campaign? Does it present a benevolent vision of a valuable service, give a voice to the voiceless, represent further dehumanisation of society, or help open up a much-needed discussion in today's world? Any/all?

Keywords: Simons Canada ad, Simons All is Beauty, Simons retailer assisted dying, MAiD, euthanasia, assisted suicide, taboo topics in advertising, controversy ads, Broken Heart Love Affair agency

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