Medicine commercials are funny. They aren’t supposed to be funny, but they are. They almost always start in a bucolic-looking setting, with happy, smiling, healthy-looking people doing fun things. The voice-over announcer mentions the name of the medication and how it is bound to get rid of whatever it is supposed to cure and change the patient’s life, making them look like the happy people onscreen. This is hoping that a viewer who has the ailment in question will mention the medication to their doctor, talk the doctor into prescribing it, and make loads of money for the pharmaceutical company producing it.
That isn’t all, however. To avoid lawsuits, the company doing the advertising has to tell the truth. In the middle of the commercial, the announcer presents the viewer with a list of possible side effects of the medication. These can include everything from a headache to death.
After the list of unpleasant side effects is over, the announcer goes back to telling everyone how great the drug is, as if headaches and death are just unimportant details that somebody can ignore.
As an example, here is my idea for a drug commercial.
SCENE: A beautiful, green meadow. Two older people are walking hand-in-hand on the flowery grass, smiling and laughing. Two children, also laughing, are skipping next to them, stopping to pick flowers from the grass.
ANNOUNCER: Flat feet and bunions are not fun. They make you walk funny, besides being painful. But there is an easy way to cure these embarrassing conditions. It’s called Pedicurvine. Pedicurvine will restore the arches of your feet and remove your bunions, making it possible for you to keep up with your grandchildren with ease.
Possible side effects include hammertoes, migraines, neuropathy, and slow, agonizing death. These only happen about 50 percent of the time, however. You have a 50 percent chance of avoiding them.
For a happy, carefree life of easy mobility, ask your doctor about Pedicurvine. It is available at most pharmacies.
You get the idea.