These days, it seems like you can’t turn on the tv without listening to a pharmaceutical ad. Now maybe that’s a result of watching things like cable news shows, but still. One day I said to John, you ever notice with these new drugs, how they say “People who are allergic to X shouldn’t take X. No shit.” He said, “I wonder about that all the time. How the hell would you know you’re allergic to something if you’ve never taken that thing?” And so our first comic was born.
This is part of what is known as “fair balance.” And that, dear readers, led us to our second comic. The fair balance is the part that comes after the part when they tell you how wonderful your life will be if you take whatever drug they happen to be hawking. It’s the part with the disgusting and scary list of side effects, such as “anal streaking.” We decided to spare you by leaving that part out of the acutal comic.
Now as many of you know, John and I had long careers in advertising. And towards the end, we did a lot of pharma (industry shorthand for pharmaceutical advertising). That’s why we know fancy terms like “fair balance.” True story, we rarely worked together in advertising, but did work in the same agency for the last 10 years or so. On this one occasion, we were working on the same project. John had come up with a terrific animated campaign for a drug called Celebrex. We were ready to run on national tv until the client discovered an additional side effect at the 11th hour. It turns out, the drug could kill you. So during the fair balance portion the announcer, with a cheery voice, had to say something like: “People who are allergic to Celebrex shouldn’t take Celebrex. Side effects may include nausea, lightheadedness and internal bleeding, which in rare cases, can lead to death.” You’re sitting in the recording session saying, “Uhh can you make that death part seem not so dark?” Yeah thanks. Needless to say, the campaign never aired.
Oh, and one last thing. in case you never bothered to wrestle with the name, Dis-kure-zitall, is our goof name for “This cures it all.” See you next week.
The New 60