Monday, June 15, 2015

1499 Side Effects

1499 Side Effects

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

So, sadly, we abandon our long and unsuccessful fight against pharmaceutical ads that encourage you pressure your doctor into prescribing the latest greatest overpriced drug for everything from ingrown toenails to liver cancer and then go on to list up to a dozen possible side effects, most of which are worse than the condition the stuff’s supposed to treat.

Instead, we now recommend an extension.  Side effect warnings in all ads. Everything. It’s going to be a tough fight.  But if we all work together, we can do it.

The drug ads follow a format.  

--Person is suffering from the slings and arrows of outrageous acne or dandruff or high cholesterol.  Looks miserable.
--Peppy announcer peppily announces some new potion.
--Suffering person talks to his or her doctor about said potion.
--Doctor prescribes it.
--Patient takes it and voila! Cured.
--Fast talking announcer then lists possible side effects and reminds you that “Dozart is not for everyone because it might kill you.”
--While that’s being said, the picture shows a happy person cradling a baby or a grandchild or swinging a golf club with a blissful smile on her face and “almost clear” skin.

It’s enough to scare you to death, saving you unwanted trips to the doctor.

But why restrict this to medicine?

Ad for “Bingo Spring Water.”

--Person gets off the tennis court, winded and sweating. Looks miserable.
--Peppy announcer peppily announces the debut of “Bingo Spring Water” to get your body back to normal.
--Depressed tennis player (possibly because he keeps losing, but probably just from overactivity) opens a bottle, drinks it and suddenly becomes Happy Harry Hydrate with a big smile on his face.
--Peppy announcer becomes Very Serious and Quiet announcer and announces that “Bingo Spring Water” and products like it are packed in plastic bottles that if not properly disposed of will overflow the landfill and destroy the planet.  And too much water taken too quickly can lead to upset stomach.  And cold water that’s too cold can give you cramps.
--The final picture is a man in a tuxedo holding a tennis racquet in one hand and a bottle of Bingo in the other and smiling broadly as he walks toward a Bentley.

Printer paper warning: Printer paper can cut you, use only as directed.

Truck tire warning: Driving over spikes can cause sudden deflation.  Do not drive over spikes.

Dress warning: Sizes are approximate. If you look fat in it, remove immediately and return to vendor.

Razor blade warning: For external use only.

Diamond warning: Can pose choking hazard. Not for children under the age of four.

There.  Don’t you feel safer and healthier now?

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to
© WJR 2015

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