I think the level of banality in television advertising is reflective of the across-the-board poverty of imagination in our culture. Clever has disappeared, nostalgic is waving good-bye, and topics which used to be unspeakable in polite company have taken their spots.
Honestly, who cares to have female cycles and male malfunctions trumpeted in his or her living room?
I woke up this morning wondering when/how/why things had changed.
Pharmaceutical companies used to hawk their wares in medical journals and with sales reps in doctors’ offices. In 1997 the FDA relaxed restrictions and a new acronym was born. DTC. Direct to consumer. The United States and New Zealand are the only countries which allow DTC advertising. The amounts spent on persuasion of the consumer, according to this Wikipedia article, have grown from $700 million in 1997 to $4 billion in 2004.
Do you remember the early commercials and the problems they promised to fix? Hair loss, allergies and arthritis. Next came depression, high blood pressure, restless legs and the fluttering butterflies which were a picture of uninterrupted sleep. Before long we’re talking about female cycles and male malfunctions. What could possibly come next? Abortificants? Advertising for STD drugs?
What are the ramifications of this massive cultural change?
The belief that prescription drugs will fix any problem you have is increasing. The normalization of popping pills has already occurred. The patient now leads the doctor, initiating exams and demanding the purple pill. There is no or precious little thought about side effects, complicating the chemistry of the body; we steadfastly ignore lifestyle changes which could ameliorate the condition.
“Better living through chemistry” has become the motto of our people.
I’m reading this with the words from a friend echoing in my ears: “There are no billings for AMG386 because it’s an experimental drug. I am thankful for the drug companies.” Drugs really can make a difference in the quality of life. My objection is to DMC.