I just got back from New York.
I watched quite a bit of TV, and one thing in particular amazed me.
Practically every pharmaceutical commercial had a similar structure.
I copied out a typical commercial:
Open on quick cuts of various worried looking people.
1st Woman: “I don’t want to feel depressed.”
2nd Woman: “I’d like to enjoy things again.”
3rd Woman: “I feel these aches and pains.”
4th Woman: “The guilt”
1st Man: “My sleep just isn’t right.”
5th Woman: “I’m so anxious.”
2nd Man: “I need to focus.”
FVO: “Depression hurts. Cymbalta can help with many symptoms of depression.
Tell your doctor right away if your depression worsens, you have unusual changes in behaviour, or thoughts of suicide.
Anti-depressants can increase these in children, teens, and young adults.
Cymbalta is not approved for children under 18.
People taking MAOIs or Thyroizadine or with uncontrolled glaucoma should not take Cymbalta.
Taking it with pain-relievers, aspirin, or blood-thinners may increase bleeding risk.
Severe liver problems, some fatal, were reported.
Signs include abdominal pain and yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Talk with your doctor about your medicines, including those for migraine or if you have high fever, confusion, and stiff muscles.
To address a possible life threatening condition tell your doctor about alcohol use, liver disease and before you reduce, or stop taking, Cymbalta.
Dizziness or fainting may occur upon standing.
Side effects include nausea, dry mouth, and constipation.
Ask your doctor about Cymbalta.
Go to Cymbalta.com to learn about our free trial offer.
Depression hurts. Cymbalta can help.”
And I’m looking at the TV screen thinking “Wait a minute, your disclaimer is literally twice as long as the advert.
You’re spending two thirds of your media money to tell me your product can make me have thoughts of SUICIDE.
You’re telling me it can cause FATAL liver problems.
You’re saying using it could result in a LIFE-THREATENING condition.
You’re spending sixty seconds of your ninety-second ad to tell me this?
Are you nuts?
Then, almost immediately, it was followed by another ninety-second ad for another pharmaceutical brand.
With the same sixty-second disclaimer.
Later on another pharmaceutical ad.
All with the same sixty-second disclaimer.
And I realised everyone was saying the same thing.
Since everyone was saying it, it must just be some government thing that everyone was forced to put on their ads.
So it was just arse covering.
And so it just became background clutter.
So it had to be there, but no one listened anymore.
And that’s a valuable lesson for anyone trying to get a message across.
However shocking or daring we think something is, if everyone’s doing it, it becomes part of the wallpaper.
Then it doesn’t stand out.
Then it’s invisible.
If everyone’s doing it, no one’s doing it.