CableSystem uses cancer scare in ads for home phone service

Posted by Dave Dykema - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – It's an advertising campaign you don't normally see, using a theme that some consider taboo. Buckeye CableSystem is portraying a woman concerned about cancer to push their home phone service.

In the ad, a woman poses as a mom, saying she's concerned about RF radiation from her cell phone.

Holding a cell phone she says, "There are a lot of cautions and warnings. And if you've Googled cell phone risks, these things could be dangerous to your health."

She concludes that she should only use her cell phone when she's mobile and whenever she's at home, she'll use Buckeye home phone service.

"We are using it not to scare people but to give people an option," said Florence Buchanan, Buckeye's vice president of sales and marketing. She says her marketing team developed the ad campaign after seeing several reports that cell phones could cause cancer.

It was put it into heavier rotation after an article highlighting the possible risk was published in the Toledo Blade on June 1.

"We thought maybe that people would be concerned with the word cancer, but it's not our word. It is a word that if you Google it, you will find that this is valid research, that there have been cases that have been presented that indicate there is the potential," Buchanan added.

Frequent cell phone user Carl Hoppe of Bedford, Michigan said he'll ignore the ads. "I'd like to think that if something was that in depth and it was going to cause cancer, it would come out before now. We've been doing this for 15 to 20 years now with the cell phones."

Sue Morgan, of Ottawa Lake, wants to see more research. "And the ads are probably right. I use my home phone when the doctors or somebody else calls but mostly it's all on my cell phone."

Buchanan was asked if she was aware of a study released in July in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which said kids who use cell phones are at no greater risk of brain cancer than non-users.

"Well you are right," Buchanan answered. "Some research will say it is hazardous and some will say that it isn't, but we chose to take the road, the position, of we have another option."

Buchanan insists they're not telling people not to use their cell phone, just to limit their exposure.