Like the current administration, advertisers sometimes stray into a world of alternate reality. Maybe they think we won’t recognize it for what it is (i.e. we’re gullible) or they feel the production values of their communications–beautifully and expensively rendered–will overwhelm the message. Or the messenger.
Two new spots come to mind. The first, “Go Boldly,” shows scientists doing lifesaving research against the backdrop of Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night.” It’s stirring, it’s inspiring and it makes you want to run out and buy pharma stocks until you realize that the sponsor of this fine ad is, in fact, America’s Biopharmaceutical Companies a.k.a. PhARMA, the wonderful people who brought you thousand-fold price increases on those very same lifesaving drugs. Just because they could. If there were a black box warning for advocacy comms like this it would say: “Use with caution. Side effects include headache, nausea, dry mouth and bankruptcy. Do your research and don’t be fooled by a name change, however anodyne it appears.”
Another wolf in sheep’s clothing appears in “Energy Tomorrow,” quick paced with great graphics demonstrating all the ways oil runs (literally) the world– from science to cosmetics, automotive engineering to art. Pretty cool, huh? Then you read the fine print and learn that the marketer who’s “powering past impossible” is none other than the American Petroleum Institute. Who knew?
There used to be retailer which claimed that “an educated consumer is our best customer.” Though the company is now defunct, the truth of that statement remains. Our world requires ever more vigilance in being informed and upholding the truth. Big Oil and Big PhARMA undoubtedly do great things, but in reality, they are not the best thing since sliced bread.
In politics, in advertising and in life, beware of the big lie.