Did you know that ads for Prescription Drugs used to be illegal in this country? I'd like to see them made illegal again, mainly because while the principal task of ALL commercials is to make you feel crappy about your life and then offer you a solution through the purchase of some product, there seems to be something downright evil in using the same marketing strategy to sell drugs. The constant "suggestion" that you "Ask Your Doctor" about this drug or that if you feel this symptom or that has at it's base nothing more complicated than a desire by Big Pharma to turn this country into an army of pill-poppers constantly harassing their doctors for more. And, of course, turning doctors into well-paid pushers who would rather hand out the drugs and collect the fees (not to mention the junkets to "medical conferences" and free goodies ranging from golf trips to ball-point pens) than actually talk to their patients.
The most recent obnoxious drug ad I've seen is one for something called "Pristiq." It features a truly creepy-looking, pink-cheeked doll with a massive windup key attached to it's back. A woman tells us that "every day, it was as if I had to wind myself up to get myself going." (Shot of doll being wound, and then slowly walking across a table, sad look on face, arms moving back and forth slightly, and quickly winding down.) "Then I'd have to wind myself up again." (Repeat scene of creepy doll taking tiny steps across the table.)
Narrarator tells us that we should "ask our doctor about Pristiq." What's Pristiq? One of a dozen or so prescription medications designed to treat Depression. How does it work? Well, this is interesting- we are told that "Pristiq MAY work by...." followed by the industry-standard cartoon graphics suggesting that the movement of little pink and blue squares from one synaps to another limits the effects of depression, or something. So it seems that the manufacturer doesn't know, either.
But back to that doll. Now the woman has a slight smile on her face, and so does the doll (I don't want a doll that changes moods along with me. I'm happy with my portrait in the back room.) The doll marches across the picnic table, and the woman just stares at it with this insipid half-grin. In the background, her husband and children are playing happily, and they interrupt this woman's Doll Time by running to No Longer Depressed Mommy.
I don't want to make light of Depression- I know more about it than I'm willing to discuss here- but maybe one problem this woman was having was that she was spending way too much time playing with the Most Depressing Toy Ever Invented. Seriously- a doll with a massive key in it's back, which takes tiny steps when wound? Yeah, that's a better choice than YOUR HUSBAND AND CHILDREN, WHO ARE RIGHT THERE! Cripes, poking a dead squirrel with a stick would be less depressing than this doll.
At least those sad floating heads in the Zoloft commercials have an obvious excuse for being depressed- THEY DON'T HAVE BODIES. But this woman is just bringing it on herself with that stupid doll.