Plop, plop. Fizz, fizz.

Mr. Brien McHugh's picture

I’ve noticed another disturbing trend. (It seems my sole duty in life is to notice disturbing things.) So it is with apologies to Jerry Seinfeld that I ask, “What’s the deal with these animated organs?

Before you jump to some unwarranted conclusions, I’m referring to the cute little cartoon organs that seem to be a part of large pharmaceutical company television advertising.

This latest barrage began, I believe, last year with Abilify, an anti-depressant. A cute little cartoon “A” walks hand in hand with a large cartoon pill seeming to signify that Abilify and your regular medication will make you all better. Big Pharma saw that it worked and upped the ante. Enter “Bobby the bursting bladder” from  Myrbetriq and the warm-and-fuzzily drawn “Izzy the intestine” representing Xifaxan.

“Bobby”  is the bladder of an attractive woman who wants to enjoy the simple things in life: bowling, eating at a restaurant, etc. Bobby keeps tugging at her arm, interrupting all of those wonderful life experiences, to urge her to head to the nearest restroom. Finally she says “Enough!”

Izzy is a bit more of a problem. He looks like a pinkish turtle and – bad news for Izzy – experiences all of the bad stuff that happens in the intestines, at precisely the wrong moment. I still laugh when this cute little bundle of colons runs around pretending to have diarrhea.

Animated characters are a tried and true advertising vehicle. Alka Seltzer had “Speedy.” Kellogg’s has “Tony the Tiger.” Pillsbury has the “Doughboy.” But I can’t ever remember so many animated body parts.

In the advertising game -especially pharmaceutical advertising - when something works, everyone else jumps on the bandwagon. God help us when Viagra’s ad agency gets wise…..

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