Blog | Thursday, September 3, 2009

Madison Ave. medicine


Maybe it's the media's infatuation with the new season of Mad Men, but the news today seems to be all about medical marketing. The people trying to improve our health also have sales techniques appealing to all of our basic instincts: disgust, greed, and, well, love of cuteness, for want of a better term.
First up, the New York City health department failed in their effort to tax sugary beverages to deter consumption, so they've gone with a fall-back plan of making them seem totally gross. Look forward to seeing images like the one at left on a subway near you.
The feds have taken a happier approach to flu spread prevention, recruiting Elmo from Sesame Street to their cause. (Check out the CNN story for a hilarious picture of Kathleen Sebelius trying to act serious while standing next to a big, red, fuzzy creature.)
Perhaps the least surprising of today's stories is the new report on how Lexapro was marketed to prescribers. Forest Labs put "money into doctors' pockets and food into their mouths," the New York Times reported. Maybe they should mix it up a little the next time and send Elmo out to lead some "Lunch and Learns."