Monday, August 29, 2011


After I first got back to the U.S., I was watching TV with my brother one night when a commercial for some kind of medicine came on. I honestly can't remember what kind of medicine it was, except that it was targeting men around their 60s.

The main character of the commercial said something along the following: "Before XXX, my life was awful. I couldn't do this, I couldn't do that, this and that were always hurting... Then!" And he took on a very positive tone. "Then! I discovered such-and-such medicine. Now, I can play ball with my grandkids, barbeque..." He was walking in a green area with a fence as he said this. "This doesn't hurt anymore, and this actually feels good! Plus!" The tone of his voice was truly joyful now. "Plus! This can cause backache, headache, kidney failure, migraines, heart failure, brain aneurisms, etc. etc. etc.!!!!!"

It was only toward the end of the litany of potential disastrous side effects that I realised that he was listing potential disastrous side effects.

After all, he just sounded so happy about it that I almost missed the fact that there were side effects at all.

I mentioned this to my brother who told me that there's a new law stating that side effects need to be an active part of the commercial, not just a quick mutttered-off list at the end. Well, ok. This commercial followed that rule, but the side-effects sound better, not worse, when communicated this way.

THEN... I learned about the new rules for cigarette label advertising. The FDA is also wanting to make sure customers really, really, really, understand the risks. So much so that now cigarette companies need to advertise anti-smoking campaigns on their products. They need to advertise against themselves. Not just warn, but promote... in pretty graphic ways! Check out these ads from the FDA site if you haven't already seen them...

I don't know, I tend to think they're going a bit overboard. Exaggerating can have the opposite effect, can't it? This all just seems a bit weird to me, that's all.


Lisa notes... said...

Yeah, that new law is going to make for even MORE weird commercials... I hadn't seen these FDA ads, but they are impactful. Reminds me of a series of billboards we had around our area for awhile on meth use. Made you want to drive off the road to keep from having to see them.

happygirl said...

They are quite horrible. But, if I was a smoker, they wouldn't bother or deter me. :) I quit 20 years ago.

Post a Comment