Mozilla Axes 'Offensive' Ad Campaign

Dennis Faas's picture

Mozilla has apologised for an ad campaign which claimed users of their Firefox browser were less likely to have cancer than those using Internet Explorer.

The campaign involved setting up a dedicated 'Firefox Users Against Boredom' site (which is now inaccessible to the public). It was designed as a viral campaign; rather than the company paying for advertising, the idea was that Internet users would find the site entertaining and tell friends about it.

The site included a list of statistics comparing users of both browsers, including claims that Firefox users were more likely to watch cartoons and less likely to fish. However, the list also claimed they were 23% less likely to have cancer, 25% less likely to have breast cancer and 20% less likely to live with a cancer sufferer.

Writers at TechCrunch linked to the site and quoted readers who found the statistics offensive. Paul Kim, Mozilla's vice president of marketing said the site was not intended to have gone live. "Something went seriously wrong with our content development process, and I'm working to clean this up now." (Source:

He later posted on his blog, "We hadn't reviewed the stats before they were accidentally published and some of them are clearly in poor taste and humor. This does not reflect the views of Mozilla and we are working to fix this immediately." It's not clear whether the statistics are genuine, though Kim referred to them as being part of a Nielsen survey. (Source:

As a matter of taste and decency, the incident reflects poorly on Mozilla. If fictional, the cancer statistics are in extremely poor taste; if genuine, it's unclear why such a question was asked in the first place.

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