Starting Wednesday, a walking, talking, pants-less billboard named Mark McIntyre will begin hitchhiking mostly naked across Canada. He will make the journey from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Truro, Nova Scotia, to raise money and awareness for "below-the-waist" cancers, as well as money and awareness for underwear brand Stanfield's. It's an updated version of a stunt that Toronto agency John St. created for Stanfield's in 2010, when McIntyre, a testicular-cancer survivor, spent 25 days live-streaming video of himself hanging out at home in his underwear. That effort handily succeeded in its goal of collecting 50,000 Facebook likes (for the campaign site, not the brand itself) in exchange for a $50,000 donation from Stanfield's to the Canadian Cancer Society, as well as a lot of chuckling press coverage for the cause and the advertiser.
This time, supporters can like Stanfield's Facebook page to see McIntyre's progress. There, they can also offer him rides, and vote to give him benevolent gifts like boots and sadistic challenges like swimming mostly naked in icy water. The weather forecast for Vancouver on Wednesday doesn't look great—misty and 40s, or pretty cold for no pants. If McIntyre makes it to Truro within 21 days, Stanfield's will donate $20,000 to the Canadian Cancer Society. He apparently gets to hold a sign that says "I'm doing this for charity," which seems kind of like cheating. It also makes sense, though, because without it, nobody in his or her right mind would pick up McIntyre at all. The campaign is called the "The Gitchhiker," because, for people who speak Canadian, "gitch" is apparently a common slang term for underwear. Also because people who work in advertising love puns at least as much but probably more than people who write headlines for the New York Post.