Advertising and colds

While my body is clearly back in the UK portions of my brain are still scattered in various time zones between here and New Zealand. It’s been weird coming back to London after more than 6 weeks straight from nearly-the-longest-day to nearly-the-shortest.

Somewhere in this confusion, I found myself astonished by UK cold treatment advertising. (Strange things grab my attention in my current state).

In New Zealand, my Brit friends and I would chuckle at the gaucheness of the lcoal TV advertising. But at least most of it was straightforward, even if it lacked the so-called creative flair that allegedly makes British ads superior.

But I wonder what a price we pay for this kind of sophistication? Yes, that’s sophistication, from the same lexicographers that gave you sophistry.

Exhibit A: TV ad for Lemsip Max Strength (Clip at DavidReviews). Synopsis: Woman at office worries that male colleage is too ill with the flu to complete some profoundly important project. Male reveals that his use of Lemsip has transformed him from red-nosed death’s-door loiterer into suave executive. He even has time to invite said female colleaugue on a date. She is unable to resist a man who can bounce back so readily from illness. Obviously, this medicine does wonders for the production of pheromones as well as curing the flu.

Exhibit B: Beechams All-in-one. Synopsis: Charicature native tribesman tries a variety of unlikely cold-cures, like putting mustard on his chest. Surprise, surprise, they don’t work. Reasurring male voiceover offers us Beechams All-in-one, which gives the flu “the all-in-one”. The neat thing about that phrase is that it can imply fantastic results but actually not really mean anything.

Both these ads seem to imply through tone and execution that these products are a virtually a cure for colds/flu, which of course they are not.

Now I see that online, Beechams are more circumspect. For example, with beechamsfightback, and the “Cold and Flu Council” sponsored by them. Take a look at the Six Ways to Fight Back. Nary a mention of the product which, on TV, appears to be some kind of miracle cure.

I suppose we could appreciate the integrity of this advice. But the contrast between the multimillion pound ads and this relatively cheap website is telling.

Meanwhile, over at Lemsip the Expert Advice includes (my italics)

Well as you’d expect, we can’t give you an instant cure, but there are some suggestions we can make that might help you get better sooner.

Get plenty of rest

1 thought on “Advertising and colds

  1. James Laughead

    Ok I can’t resist – my favourite ad story

    We lived in Ghana in the late 1950’s – OK I am old

    Dad ran Alcan’s efforts there. the big project was to build a dam on the Volta river to produce the power needed to smelt aluminum. In the interim to generate cash, they ran a rolling mill to produce corrugated roofing.

    All the huts had corrugated iron – so how to break into a traditional market with no TV, no radio and little print?

    The first idea was to equip a fleet of Volkswagen buses with a projector and to give parties in the evening in villages with of course a film show.

    At the heart of the film show was the primary interest in village life – fecundity. The film showed a man who had an iron roof. He had only one wife, who was thin and a few scrawny kids. Then it showed a man who had an aluminum roof. He had 3 wives, they were fat and there were hordes of fat kids.

    The campaign was a huge success. Not only because of the lie about what kind of impact the roof would have on your family life but that they had taken the trouble to go out to the people and engage them.


    You say there is no instant cure for the Flu,WRONG!

    I developed a instant cure for the Flu, about 20 years ago, I even presented it to Merck 3 times, but they said we don’t have time to work on it! I presented it to China in 2004 for the Zaars epidemic, Shanghi had less than 800 cases. To bad this Damm Country, doesn’t want to do anything, they are afraid it might hurt their trillion dollar cold & Flu drug business.

    What my formula does (Pneumocobal) is destroys the viruses, of the Flu, and also the cold. It is a very simple process, and even a moron can figure it out, I guess that is why the doctors can’t figure it out.

    The trouble with this flu it not only hits the respritory area, but also the stomach, and intestinal track. Nasty!

    However I got this Flu last December, and knew when I got it, it would be nasty, as it also hit the stomach, which to me it never happen to me before, use to only hit lungs, and respiratory system, and the pain in the stomach, made me hit the floor. I snorted the formula down both nostrals, and it did clear the flu in my lungs, and Respiratory system in about 1/2 hour, but my stomach was killing me, so I chewed about 5 tablets of the formula, and my stomach cleared in about 15 minutes. I then drank a quart of kudsen brand just cherry juice, to clean out the intestinal track, which cleared in about 20 minutes. Inside of about 3 hours, I was back to normal. I can’t release the formula over the net, howeever if you e-mail me back, I will give you my phone number, and you can get the formula, over the counter or on the net. I am a retired safety director, and I just hate pain and suffering, and thought this might help yoyr people out. The last time I had a flu shot was in 1957, for the swine Flu!


    Jim Laughead


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