LOT'S WIFE..Turn around..look back...see with new eyes

Friday, July 23, 2010

Turn Around....Moths and Bathtubs

Drug companies wanted to reach a larger audience to make more money.

The FDA, because it is so caring, liked the idea that TV commercials about drugs could help educate consumers.

The theory is ads inform people about medical conditions and treatments they don't know about. Thus Direct To Consumer advertising (DTC) was born.

But, the FDA mandated that warnings about side effects must appear in every ad that describes what a drug does. Ads describing what a drug does for you must also say what the drug can do to you.

Recently, the FDA warned pharmaceutical companies that all of their online ads need to include these warnings, too. This includes all-text ads in Google search

Now instructions from federal regulators are that television ads for drugs and medical devices should “avoid distracting images and music that can reduce viewers’ comprehension of potential side effects.” Advertisements also should use similar type styles and voice-overs when conveying benefits and risks.

In the new guidelines, the FDA said” busy scenes, frequent scene changes and moving camera angles can misleadingly minimize the risks of the product being promoted by detracting from the audience’s comprehension.”

Evidently the FDA does not understand that an ad is a sales message that uses images, music and whatever else it can to sell a product.
For pharmaceutical companies, its only purpose is to get you to “ask your doctor for it by name.

The promoters of Cialis tried something that their competitors hadn't tried before. They ran a TV ad that described what an impotence drug does.

Promotions for Viagra on TV commercials never described the purpose of the drug. Mostly it showed couples dancing…

So, in order to present such an ad Cialis' possible side-effects had to be listed.
Cialis was the first impotence drug to use such a TV commercial. The ad made its debut during the 2004 Super Bowl., also known for the infamous WARDROBE MALFUNCTION incident!

Because drug marketing depends on what the FDA allows on a drug's label, Eli Lilly and Icos decided to promote the drug's major distinction: It stays in the body longer than the competitors' drugs. Even the FDA remarks that Cialis is "different" than other medications because it can improve erectile function for up to 36 hours

Example: Cialis ad opens with…

A wife on a ladder, rolling yellow paint on her living room wall. The husband standing at the foot of the step ladder lending moral support.
The wife turns to the the husband and hands him the pant roller.

Their hands touch, their eyes meet, and they slowly drift off into a maze of small trees and flowers. It is clear that the husband had visited his doctor and with the ingestion of Cialis, was able to delight the wife.
They repose on their outdoor sun deck -- sitting in his-and-her bathtubs -- contemplating the countryside and the SURGE of the ocean.

Another example… the sleeping pill, Lunesta, which generated a $500 million in sales last year.
One ad begins with a pitch-black screen.
"This is you," a narrator's voice says. "You've awakened in the dark because your sleep aid didn't give you a full night's sleep."
On screen, viewers see a woman lying in her bed. She's tossing and turning, frustrated, and a little teary-eyed.
But then, a beautiful fairy green moth floats through her window and into her soul…. her sleep problems are put to rest.

"Tomorrow, ask your doctor about Lunesta," says the narrator as gentle music plays and the glowing moth flutters its gossamer wings gently upon her forehead.

The woman falls into a deep sleep.

She looks so restful, and when she wakes up, she is luminous, She sits up and stretches. She smiles and faces a new dawn! Who doesn't want that?

All the drug adds have a happy voice in the background reviewing the LONG SCARY list of possible side effects.

And this is the problem. Evidently, if you present a list of items, people are going to do well in the beginning and the end. But they'll have trouble with the middle and a little past the middle.

There's so much information going on in one minute.
When side effects are chunked together in the middle of an ad people have a very hard time recalling them.
Speed is also an issue. Side effects are usually spoken more quickly than the rest of the ad.

And then there's also readability.
Research shows you only need a sixth-grade reading level to understand the benefits presented in most ads. But you need a ninth-grade reading level to understand the risks.

With more than $4 billion a year spent on pharmaceutical ads, studies show it's increasingly common for people to ask their doctors for drugs they've heard about on TV.
TV ads like these are persuasive because they sell you a feeling. We remember the feel, longer than what we know. These ads are long on feeling. The things we could know — the facts, the numbers — are things we do not remember.

When reading these warnings, it's easier to remember the details. But when people watch the ad, they are more likely to be distracted by the moving pictures and music. The images of the gliding luna moth is mesmerizing, not to mention naked bath-tub people....

"When the eye and the ear compete…. the eye wins."

So….in case you missed them, here are some of the more disturbing side effects!


Acts quickly, should not drive, perform other possibly unsafe tasks, or operate machinery.

Walking, eating, driving or engaging in other activities while asleep without remembering it the next day have been reported.

Aggression, confusion, strange behavior, agitation, unusual or disturbing thoughts.



Blurred vision.
Other vision problems, such as seeing a blue tinge to objects or difficulty telling the difference between blue and green

A sudden decrease in or loss of hearing

And, of course, the MOST FAMOUS.....
Prolonged painful erection lasting longer than four hours.

Any questions?


  1. It all started with the lawyers (who here is surprised?). The FCC should NEVER have allowed lawyers to advertise on TV. Otherwise perfectly intelligent people (and I know one who actually did this) think these ambulance-chasers shouting at you from the TV are *real* lawyers who can help. Then these otherwise-intelligent people are surprised and saddened to find that NOTHING HAPPENS. The drug ads are designed to make money for the drug companies (duh!), and NOT to educate consumers about anything (again, duh). It's especially gross when it comes to the impotence or "experience-enhancement" drugs. I find them more offensive than the "seven dirty words." (RIP)

  2. The Lunesta add has a subtitle "The way Lunesta works is not fully understood." They leave out, though, the part where they say "though it is unlikely to be due to butterflies, even glowing green ones."

    The REALLY scary ones to me are the ads for antipsychotic agents, later generation neuroleptics, being marketed for depression. Side effects for antipsychotics are nothing to sneeze at. If you happen to suffer from psychosis, well, it's well worth the risk. But if you're suffering from anything but a severe depression it seems insane to use those drugs for a treatment. Like scratching a mosquito bite with a howitzer.

  3. Erectile dysfunction ads alway remind me of the Saturday Night Live sketch . . . "If you experience an erection lasting more than 4 hours . . . call a friend" . . .