Friday, October 16, 2009

Asthma is the least of your problems, lady

For a full five minutes, the silhouette of a shapely woman wearing high heels marches all over the screen, turning on a dime, changing directions, sometimes aggressively plowing straight ahead as if she's about to come right out of the screen into my living room, then turning left and crossing the length of my tv like the New England Patriots heading down the field in a two-minute offense, continuing to blather on about Symbicort even though she's no longer looking at the viewer.

Twice during this commercial, this silhouette woman defensively tells us that the facts she just bleated "make Symbicort right for me." Who is she arguing with? Why is she pacing this way and that, moving her hands nervously as she goes, while muttering things like "I know that Symbicort won't replace an emergency inhaler?" Why does she only appear in shadow, as if she's in the Witness Protection Program giving testimony on this top secret weapon produced by the criminal masterminds at AstraZeneca (which does sound like the kind of organization James Bond might be sent to destroy?)

Watching this woman's frentic movement throughout the entire commercial, I come to three possible conclusions:

1. This woman has gone insane, and is simply babbling to herself as she struggles vainly to discover a way to escape from the cage she has found herself in. She's like a cheetah displayed in some cruel roadside menagerie, forever pacing back and forth. For God's Sake, AstraZeneca, open a door and let her out already.

2. This woman is suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome, a nasty side effect that some May Experience from taking Symbicort, which is nevertheless Right For Her.

3. Constant movement is a required therapy in her daily struggle to combat Glowing Lung Syndrome. Did I mention that her lungs glow blue and red during most of the commercial? They remind me of the solar lights my parents installed around their pond, and they totally creep me out. Your lungs are glowing, and you are concerned about dealing with bouts of asthma?

And when she concludes by telling me to ask my doctor "if Symbicort is right for me," it sounds a lot more like an order than a suggestion. I guess AstraZeneca's theory is that if the actress is bold and scary enough, the viewer will feel threatened into calling the doctor-- "I'd better try this medication, because Scary Lady in Shadows who couldn't stop walking around and who had glowing lungs told me too."

And who is going to refuse a command by a woman with glowing lungs?


  1. Oh, crap; that ad reminds me of the PSAs the Canadian Cancer Socierty ran in the early seventies; the glowing lung was accompanied by a scare chord that reminded you that everything was trying to kill you. That, and an ad that had Consumer and Corporate Affairs torch a stuffed toy to discuss product safety always showed up between the Yogi Bear show and Bugs Bunny.

  2. The worst part of it is, most of what she's saying during all that frenetic pacing (I believe "professional women" call that a "power walk," although for authenticity she should be talking into a cell phone) is word salad. Nothing she says has anything to do with what she said immediately before or what she says immediately afterward.

    "As soon as I take Symbicort, I can feel it miraculously healing everything wrong with me. Symicort can kill people with the symptoms of my disease, so people with my disease should not take it. I know Symbicort is absolutely worthless and will probably fucking kill me. Within minutes of taking Symbicort, I can feel it giving me blanket immunity to all disease and rendering me immortal. That makes Symbicort a good choice for me.

  3. Well that was an unanticipated great howl of laughter. Thanks!

  4. Oh, these are hilarious -- thanks for a good laugh!

    So, you wrote these back in 2010. It's March 2011 now, and I've been looking around the web to see if anyone else has noticed the new Symbicort actress's weird neck.

    Does she just have, like, zero body fat or what? The center part of her throat goes way back in, apparently adhering directly to her esophagus, while great big tendons stick out on both sides. I don't even know what she's saying about Symbicort because I always hit the Mute and just watch her throat moving in and out and up and down. I can't look away. The African-American actor's nice plump throat is a sporadic relief in between sessions with the woman's weird throat.

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