Don’t any advertising folks understand the concept of Too Much Information??
Not only have we, the TV watching public, had to suffer through ad after ad about ‘painful intercourse’ or ‘impotence’ as we watch middle- aged women parading around in flowing blue dresses ready to grab the first unsuspecting male who crosses her path, but we also have to hear about creams and lotions designed to enhance mutual pleasure, perhaps the solution to those other two problems. Then there are the non-sexual body part ads that bombard us with issues surrounding elimination. As if ‘over-active bladder’ ads (aka wet panties) weren’t enough, we have to endure graphic, though thankfully not explicit, representations of bowel movements, colorfully depicted as pink and blue blocks gliding happily through a winding tunnel. And since these ads enhance Big Pharma’s overflowing revenue boxes, ad companies just keep churning them out as the general public races to buy special adult diaper pants, little blue pills, creams and gels, yogurts and drink additives that assure us our internal body parts will operate perfectly.
But wait, it seems another condition has been added to our alphabet soup of conditions: OIC (opioid- induced constipation). Ever heard of that one? I guess these marketing people just make these conditions up as they go along. It’s actually pretty easy … just come up with a couple of polite words to describe a physical problem in the most neutral way possible. Then string their first letters together into a cute sounding acronym, add some bouncy music, a puppy, some balloons and voila, another condition joins Big Pharma’s ad campaigns. It’s not enough that someone may be addicted to opioids and have to deal with bothersome elimination problems as a result, but now they have to endure colorful oblongs representing guess what, slithering along another winding tunnel on their way to…..I think it’s time for manufacturers, marketing folks and the TV industry to look at the potential long range implications for these boundary-less ads.
Okay, I acknowledge it’s important to educate the public about various conditions and to inform them of available treatments. Raising social consciousness enables people to be informed consumers. That’s a good thing. Over-exposure to embarrassing and highly personal material can help desensitize reluctant patients and encourage them to seek medical help for their conditions, but there must be other ways to do this. Every few minutes, TV ads inundate us with every conceivable physical issue. We’re brushing our teeth, gargling, putting on deodorant, taking showers, putting in eye drops, spraying decongestants up our noses, coughing up and talking to green blobs; we’re getting fungus off our toenails and ridding ourselves of athlete’s foot, we enjoy drinking our laxatives as naturally as orange juice and sit around discussing contraception, tampons and acid indigestion so why not talk about impotence, bowel movements and leaky bladders and all their cutesy acronyms.
If every other citizen isn’t already obsessed with blood pressure and temperature readings, give them a few more days of TV ads and they will be. If half the time and energy spent on these medical/sexual ads was spent educating the public on how to communicate more effectively, how to think through a problem rationally, how to understand cultural and religious differences, how our government and political processes actually work, how to raise children in a responsible and respectful way, we would have a stronger and better functioning society. Granted we might be a little more inhibited about discussing bra sizes in public, but overall, a little inhibition would be a good thing at this point.
Perhaps we’ve gone too far in the ‘let it all hang out’ department, it’s time to drag some of those open-ended impulses into line and put the concept of TMI back where it belongs – in the frontal lobe where it can do us some good.