I’ve been expecting it to blow up.
Marketing Rule #2634 — If all the players in one industry start a marketing arms-race, it will escalate to a point that one of the players will be stupid enough to launch the missile that destroys the marketing for the entire industry.
If you’ve been anywhere near a TV, you’ll know what industry I’m talking about. It’s hard to watch the evening news without suffering hypochondria. Side effects may include repulsion of stock images and cheesy people. Ask your doctor if it’s right for you.
Two ad campaigns / drugs stick out as the ones that have repulsed me the most. One is the scale city model maker who “shrinks” his prostate just like his handful of clay with Avodart. It definitely has the scariest disclaimer – Women should not even touch it without the risk of birth defects. Yeah – that’s something I want to take.
The other one I hate makes me wonder just how many people are walking around with genital herpes?
Back to my fabulous marketing arms-race / missile analogy —
Vytorin and its maker Merck/Schering-Plough have been stupid. You’ve seen the spots. People who look like food. Food that looks like people. Refresh your memory with this video —
The spots make me wonder what food I resemble. (Please leave your suggestions in the comments. Be kind.)
While the first or second versions of the spots were somewhat interesting and the people did kinda look like the food, they progressively got worse where I saw no resemblance. They should have stopped the campaign there. Or even better, maybe they should have stopped the campaign when they knew the drug didn’t work.
From the blonde mini-skirted drug rep that is rushed past me as I’m sitting in the waiting room to the sleazy “consulting” trips that the pharma companies send doctors to in Hawaii, marketing for the entire pharma industry is SICK. This Vytorin fiasco (along with the next few drug scandals that I’m sure are coming down the pike) are just symptoms of the bigger illnesses.
Those illnesses being lack of respect for your consumer and lack of honesty about what you’re selling. What’s the treatment? The hardest medicine will be the eventual consumer backlash. I think (and hope) the more immediate treatment will be a big dose of government regulation and oversight.