Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dealing with the pain

Building unique, original content on this blog is extremely important to me so on those few rare days when I don’t post anything you can assume that something is wrong. Something strange is going on inside my abdomen which I can’t quite understand! It’s incredibly painful and my doctor has put me on Tylenol 3 with codeine and Prevacid, a strong antacid.

Neither of these are particularly glamorous medications (although the Tylenol 3 with codeine is a really nice trip!), but tonight I wanted to post about the ‘fashion’ drugs so often advertised on Nightly News or CNN. Here are some of my favourites:


What is COPD anyway? Doesn’t this seem like a condition invented for the sole purpose of selling this drug? Anyway, this Advair commercial is the perfect template for most ask-your-doctor drug ads. Let’s break it down:

  1. Dark and dreary lighting during the setup before the drug is introduced
  2. Oh my God, her life looks so much better now! She’s outside!
  3. Simplified graphic of bodily insides showing effective relief in action
  4. Lots of detail from the voiceover
  5. Free offer ensures that patients stay over-medicated and doctors continue a second revenue stream

Overall, very effective.


Requip is hilarious. What Kramer called ‘jimmy legs’ are now a legitimate condition called RLS, apparently diagnosed first in this commercial! This drug is basically a narcotic to keep you in one place at night.

So many things are wrong with the Requip commercial. The creepy music punctuating shots of this poor woman rolling like a log in bed only pique my curiosity about these “strange sensations” the woman was feeling in her legs. Didn’t my junior high sex ed classes also talk about the “strange sensations” I would soon experience? But the best part of this commercial is the slow, thoughtful panning of the camera over her legs, now lying dead still on a chaise – thanks Requip!


Man, live must be pretty awful when you can easily compare your depressed situation to that of an anthropomorphic blob squishing along its miserable way. Zoloft introduced us to a new family of designer ‘mood’ drugs and the tone of this commercial is quite apparent – it’s ok to feel like you want to kill yourself.


Although the initial tone may try a little too hard to sell viewers on a drug they might not have otherwise needed, I do appreciate the descriptive cartoon diagram of neural pathways in the brain as Woody Allen serenades on the oboe.


Now this is actually clever! Rozerem continues the dynastic tradition set by Ambien and Lunesta for sleep aids that we shouldn’t otherwise be taking. Gee, maybe we can’t sleep because of all the Red Bull and Starbucks we’re ingesting. I like the no bullshit tone of the male voiceover too – it makes the drug sound more effective and less mystical. Also pay attention to one of the first statements made in the copy: “Rozerem is the first and only prescription sleep aid that in clinical studies shows no risk for abuse or dependence” – obviously identified as a likely aversion concern for possible users and therefore reinforced in the commercial. Smart.

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