Addressing confusion between and Obay Pills Posters in Canada

Presently, I don’t know who made these signs.

Obay Pills Sign in Canada from Jakub

The text on the sign reads:

My son used to have his own hopes and aspirations. Now he has mine. Thanks Obay!

The text on the bottle reads:

If they can’t see it your way, it’s time for Obay.

My interest is piqued, as I have received two emails asking about Obay Pills, the first on February 12, 2008 from a Canadian named Jakub which included the above photo. The second on February 13, was from a Toronto journalist named David Silverberg who wants an interview. I have already responded to both inquiries and am anticipating a response.

I have now done a few web searches, since then and there’s a lot of buzz about the project at Yahoo Answers and Above Top Secret.

I have endeavored to send an answer to the Yahoo Answers group, but because the question is over 5 days old it no longer is accepting direct posts. The question is still listed as “undecided”, and I have sent my answer to the customer service folks at Yahoo. Hopefully they will post my reply as listed below:

I interpret the bus stop poster “culture jam” presently in Canada as a parody ad campaign which critiques adults and calls for more active parenting. By using a pun, Obay and it’s relationship to obey a direct command, the group responsible wishes to show how drugs are no substitution for “present” adults responsible for child rearing. In addition the Obay Pills bring to mind how overly zealous parents can map their wishes onto the lives of their children, especially when they are making the medical decisions for their offspring. The ad seems to be in response to the drugging of youth and the increase in diagnosis of ADHD. Regarding who would fund such a campaign, I look to the ongoing war between the Church of Scientology and Psychiatry professionals, and will be interested to note who funded the campaign.


The project for which I am responsible: Obay “The Commodiphile’s online Marketplace” also comments on mental states and is the top Google hit and likely where people are getting the false notion that I created the Obay Pills Campaign. The following is the explanation of my intent with and a brief time line:

For certain individuals Ebay has become a lifestyle, an extreme use of the service where people are a slave to their auctions, so dependent on checking up that it interferes with daily functioning. According the DSM-IV, the manual for diagnosing psychological disorders, this would be a criterion for a type of obsessive-compulsive behavior. Commodiphilia, diagnosed as assigning value to valueless objects in the off chance that it may be worth something to another disparate individual, is an artist coined term that references both the commodity, and the sexual perversion of pedophilia. critiques the mega-consumerist culture that surrounds Ebay, and is both a visual pun and a cautionary piece that succeeds when the user questions why they are so involved with buying and selling of the most mundane possessions.

October 2002, made live on Internet

May 2004 Artist talk and exhibition catalog “Buy Sell or Buy” at Pace University, New York, curated by Jillian Mcdonald

November 22, 2006 contacted by Intellectual Property Counsel
eBay Inc. to disable links and disclaim affiliation between Obay and eBay

December 2006 changes instituted to the satisfaction of Counsel.

January 2008 discovered citation to the artist coined term “commodophilia” [sic] in an exhibition catalog of artist residencies (Nicky Bird) Stills Edinburgh 2004 written by Iliyana Nedkova.

Febuary 12, 2008 contacted by a curious Canadian about‘s affiliation with Obay pill posters.

February 12, 2008 web search provides multiple sightings in Canada of Obay pill posters. Postings on Yahoo answers and Above Top Secret

February 13, 2008 contacted by Toronto journalist David Silverberg through asking if I am affiliated with Obay posters in Canada.

February 13, 2008 responded to curious Canadian and David Silverberg with the creator of Pete Ippel’s analysis of the Obay pill campaign. Also submitted answer to Yahoo Answers through their online help page, as the question was still “undecided” after 5 days yet closed to more answers.

I hope this clears up any questions you may have please contact me if you have any more.

Best wishes,
Pete Ippel
Artist and creator of

Published by Pete Ippel

Pete Ippel, the son of a dancer and a musician, was born in Oak Park, Illinois and has been surrounded by the arts since birth. He moved to Morris, Illinois in 1989 and started to participate in athletics rather than dance. After high school, Pete attended Cornell University where he received a BA in psychology and a BFA in photo / digital art making. He continued to follow his sporting dreams in the high jump, which culminated in a school record leap of 7 feet 1/2 inch in 2001. In May 2004 he attained an MFA degree in the New Genres department of the San Francisco Art Institute. Presently Pete is a practicing artist whose work is in numerous private collections and has been exhibited in New York, California, and internationally. Mr. Ippel resides in Working Artists Ventura, a sustainable artist community in southern California. In addition, he teaches art, is a web developer, an active blogger, and still high jumps from time to time. As a passionate problem solver and a pragmatic optimist, Pete’s art and his life are full of exciting challenges.

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  1. In discussion with my lady Jane about the Obay ads on our transit system in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
    ” we find the ads challenge the negative parenting that has become the norm in todays society. We conclude that it is an advertisement that takes a knock at parents that are all to quick to medicate their children in the event of the first signs of hyperactivity (ie. ADHD). That it is easier to medicate a child rather than to let a child’s growing pains run its course. It is a direct poke at doctors that are all too quick to prescribe drugs rather than promote positive parenting skills and reinforce independent thinking.”
    I personally love the ads since they are bringing a major social problem out in the open and challenging our thinking, our behaviour, and certain parents needs to control their children, by any means available.
    This is simply and opinion, but I suspect one that makes good sense to anyone who advocate independent thinking and natural growth of the human body and spirit,

  2. Thanks for the comment, Robert and Jane.

    If you are interested on a more positive association with the characteristics of ADHD, I recommend reading Thom Hartmann’s bookThe Edison Gene ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child by Thom Hartmann The Edison Gene ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child, where he writes

    The impact of reframing our thinking extends far beyond those who have already been given labels such as ADHD or learning disability or hyperactivity. There are literally millions of children in America – perhaps tens of millions – who carry this gene and stand at an uneasy precipice: As a response to their failing or under-performing in school, they can be isolated and diagnosed and drugged, or they can be nurtured, inspired and brought to their full potential. (57)

    I read this book in fall of 2004 when I was teaching at the Marin School of Art and Technology, and it gave me some insight on how to approach instruction.

  3. young people should have their own dreams and asperations

    your advertizing is demeaning and negative towards young people

    you might at well be saying do as I say not as I do

    parents should learn to lead and give a good example

    all behaveiour is a learned thing they see they do they here they repeat

    how dare you try to take a persons asperations and hopes and dreams

    away from them

    Shame on you just how much money do you think you are going to make

    of this.







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