‘Deserve to Die’ posters pop up in some U.S. cities

A provocative advertising campaign that declares hipsters, cat lovers and crazy old aunts "deserve to die" is popping up in major American cities, including New York, Chicago, Seattle and New Orleans.

The posters, placed on telephone booths and bus terminals, do not say what the campaign is for, but a quick online search leads to a website—NoOneDeservesToDie.org—that includes a countdown clock ticking down the minutes until midnight Thursday, when the "killer" is supposed to be revealed:

Every year over 160,000 lives are lost to a deadly disease. They didn't ask for it, but many people seem to think they deserved it. This disease doesn't discriminate. It affects almost all of us and it's showing no signs of slowing down. So, what is the killer? You'll find out soon enough.

Or, perhaps, now. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 158,592 people died from lung cancer in the United States in 2008—the latest year for which statistics are available.

However, the mysterious-by-design marketing stunt appears to be working. Local television news outlets in Seattle and Chicago report some of the posters have been removed by confused and/or outraged residents.

"I think that's very offensive to people who are animal lovers," Shelli Williams told CBS Chicago when she was shown the "Cat Lovers Deserve to Die" poster.

"Nobody deserves to die," Kyle Rothfus, of Lakeview, Ill., said. "Come on, that's a hell of a statement."

In New Orleans, bus stops have been papered with the posters.

"No one understands it," Brad Steuerwald, a New Orleans flag shop owner whose store is on a corner near one, told WGNO. "People ask us what the hell is it about. And we say we don't know what the hell it is about."

"Yeah, it could set someone off," Steuerwald added. "I don't know, a mentally unstable person or whatever."