If my life was a film, the point where I leave LA ablaze in my rear view mirror would be the perfect place to insert a commercial. And no one advertises bigger than Big Pharma.
The Medical Industry is a huge business here in the States. And the really fucked up thing is that they can advertise products on television. And like McDonald’s needs to keep coming up with new Happy Meals, the pill merchants need to keep thinking up new diseases and prescribing stuff for it.
Here’s the thing though. By law, they have to state in every piece of advertising, all the potential side effects of the medication. You know that one page of fine print that you flick past in a magazine, how do you get that up on a screen?
I’m sure that was the argument that Big Pharma made to Capitol Hill, but they lost and so medical TV ads are about 10 seconds of product and 50 seconds of warnings.
So I’m watching TV and on comes some ad for an arthritis medicine. Shiny, happy older couples (because there are no single or widowed people when you take pill X) who only marry within their own racial group, tell you all about how it transformed their lives. Or rather, the lives that were scripted for them, since they are all actors and only met on the set the morning of the shoot.
Against a backdrop of Cosby Show homes and golf courses where polo shirts tucked into bermudas are de riguer, I hear about how they have freedom again. Freedom is a big word in the States; write an ad for any product, sprinkle Freedom liberally and serve.
But 10 seconds in the nice people stop talking and get on with living in their beautifully lit world while a well-educated, older, friendly white voice steps in to fulfill the legal obligation, “Potential side effects may include…
A black couple in pastel jumpers look out to sea, “…high blood pressure…”
A white couple drive their golf buggy, “…dizzy spells and fainting…”
A white lady and a black lady make a salad,”…hot flushes…”
And my personal favorite; the man swings his golf club, “…anal seepage.”
A bitter, bitter pill indeed.