Pittsburgh’s premier advertising agency hit the jackpot this week when it won a huge contract from Big Pharma to promote it’s latest blockbuster drug for treating a life-threatening heart condition. At least they thought they did, until the company’s scientists told them exactly what the groundbreaking medication did, and, more importantly, did not do.
“No side effects! We were totally stuck. How do you promote something like that to the public?”
The TV division came up with all kinds of radical ways to justify a stilted conversation about health between actors playing extremely bland family members, but without anything worrisome for the authoritative-sounding voiceover artist to say, the film shoot quickly descended into chaos.
“It just comes off as completely false without all the horrific potential side effects.”
Similar problems were encountered by the print media division, who struggled to design a suitable full page advertisement for publication in Family Circle and GQ.
‘Sure I can have an attractive middle-aged couple walking along the beach wearing loose fitting cottons in a pleasing pastel palette. I can also come up with a really good name for it like ‘Zorcastrizam’, and tout the benefits of not having a massive heart attack. But what do I do about the huge block of illegible 4-point-font text at the bottom that lists all the debilitating side effects?’
When it’s suggested that it could simply be omitted, the modern-day Mad Men (plus two women) shake their heads wearily.
‘But it’s precisely that block of unreadable text that tells people ‘Hey, this is a drug advertisement’. I suppose we could fill it with Bible verse, but what if someone puts it under a microscope to see what it actually says?’
The problem is that without that text, people will invariably assume it’s an ad for a mature online dating site. When an intern suggests making one of them a doctor, the inexperienced youth is immediately shut down.
‘Then people will think it’s a dating site for golddiggers who want to meet rich doctors! Honestly, I think we’ve finally met our match with this one.”
Word was sent back to the pharmaceutical company that, unfortunately, their new drug was unmarketable. It looked like they would have to write off the billions of dollars spent on development and clinical trials of the unbelievably effective medication.
But then one of the scientist boffins had an idea.
“We could compound it together with a miniscule dose of laxative.”
The possibility of a mild case of diarrhea as a side effect, together with an extremely slim chance of death if you happen to choke on the pill, was enough for them to work with.
“And if you have constipation in addition to a serious heart condition, it may cure your immobile bowels, as well as saving you from cardiac arrest.”
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