THE CURE-ALL COME-ON
If you’re one of the few folks still watching original, seen-when-aired TV—as opposed to Tivoed programs or on-demand stuff where you can skip the ads—then you’ve seen these incessant commercials for drugs. You can’t watch for ten minutes without seeing one.
Advertisers of everything from hair growers to testosterone boosters to toenail fungus fighters try to convince you—despite the long, speed-read list of sometimes dire side effects—to demand their potion from your doctor. Hell, there are even drugs to improve the performance of the drugs they sold you before!
For starters, shouldn't the insidious tactic of getting you to ask for something your doc may not know much more about than what the culprits themselves have told him be illegal?
And, even if you’re not as cynical as I am, you’ve got to agree there’s something else that's just patently ludicrous about many of these ads: the names.
I dare you to tell me which are real
brands and which are the impostors.
|PHOTO: New York Zoological Society via Wikimedia Commons|
THE CHIMP TEST
Does anyone else think, as I do, that you could sit a chimp down in front of a two- or three-column list of random syllables, train it to pick one from each column, and come up with a better name than Xeljanz*? C’mon!
Now, lest you think I’m just ranting—perhaps resentful that some branding pros out there are making a small fortune dreaming up these absurd monikers—here’s a little test. Below is a list of 20 drug brands. (I’ve left out ones so pervasive, like Cialis or Prednisone, that they’ve muscled their way into the vernacular.) I've also spared those which at least try to suggest what they do—like Flonase.
Ten of the names are real, the result, one would assume, of exhaustive research, brainstorming and focus group testing.
The other ten are pure gibberish; I created them in about five minutes using the chimp method—combining randomly-chosen syllables from two or three columns. I challenge you to tell me which are real brands and which are the impostors.
Absolutely insane, right? But then what would you expect from folks who think you’re dumb enough to want something called Revatio?** How about Dumrite? Ufelferit?
* Xeljanz is a JAK inhibitor, claimed to disrupt the nerve pathways that lead to the inflammation associated with RA.
** Revatio, from Pfizer, is the same drug as Viagra, but marketed to treat hypertension (high blood pressure).