A Pathetic Target Audience

TV advertisers work very hard at getting their message in front of their “target audience”, those most likely to be watching particular programming. Thus, during sports programming there are ads for beer, muscle trucks, men’s “comfortable yet supportive” underwear and erectile disfunction cures. Those who watch “The View” are most likely to see beauty products that make the skin of a 40-year-old look like a 38-year-old and a shampoo/conditioner that makes one’s sad and lank hair lustrous and manageable. You get the idea.

The Clown and the current wife have a routine on Sunday mornings that begins with watching CBS’s “Sunday Morning” with Jane Pauley (often on vacation), which is 90 minutes of arts, profiles, human interest, music and nature content. This is followed by 30 minutes of “Meet the Press” or “Face the Nation” and then 60 minutes of “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. During the news shows the Clown works his culinary magic for brunch. Very cosmopolitan.

It occurred to the Clown that the routine advertisers on these programs reflects the “target audience” watching every week and it’s more than depressing.

It seems that this target audience suffers from a wide range of ills and challenges: psoriasis, type 2 diabetes, blood clots, high LDL cholesterol, bipolar disorder, arthritis, allergies, cigarette addiction, high blood pressure, various cancers, constipation, chronic cough, leaky bladder, COPD, osteoporosis, hemorrhoids, acid reflux, vitamin deficiencies, compromised immune systems, bad feet, dirty and loose dentures and chronic pain from head to toe.

This profile does not bring to mind “young, vibrant, healthy, attractive and fun”. The typical viewer would seem to be the blind date from hell for anyone over 50. For those readers who are using the “Our Time” or other dating sites for older adults, the Clown suggests that the first question one should determine is if the prospective match watches these Sunday morning news shows. It could signal problems.

In addition, the Clown has noticed that the makers of the products to address many of these issues have a warped sense of branding. There seems to be an internecine contest within the pharmaceutical industry to come up with the oddest brand names possible. Some might say “stupidest”. This is not to say that these medical problems are a laughing matter, they are not; but the names of the treatments, well they’re fair game.

Let’s just review several for the pleasure.

Otezla. Suffice to say, spellcheck really objects to this word. While Otezla sounds like an Aztec archeological site, it isn’t. It’s for the treatment of psoriasis.

Taltz. Once again, spellcheck objects. This medication could easily be an eastern European village, but no, it’s another psoriasis balm.

Farxiga. You just know the folks in marketing had many giggles over this brand name. One might even conclude that the medication had something to do with gas. Well, one would be wrong. Farxiga is a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Imagine going into the pharmacy and asking if your prescription for Farxiga was ready and keeping a straight face.

XARELTO. This brand always has to be in upper case letters, as if it were shouting at you. The reader may notice that “X”s are a familiar letter in many medications. They could have called the product ARELTO but the X makes it seem, what, more ridiculous? But what could this medication cure? Blood clots, or at least it reduces the chances of blood clots. Spellcheck went nuts.

Vraylar. While this brand sounds like an arch villain in an old Star Trek re-run, it is actually meant to treat bipolar disorder. One could imagine that trying to pronounce this correctly, starting with the “Vr” combo, could induce an episode of the disease. Spellcheck is getting weary.

Repatha. The name brings to mind one of the kindly Indians who helped Lewis and Clark reach the Pacific. It would mean something endearing like “Wandering Doe” in the native tongue. Instead, the medicine reduces “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Neulasta. This could be a family-friendly card game that can be played with anyone over the age of three. “Hey, guys, after dinner, let’s play Neulasta.” Actually, however, it is an anti-infection drug for those undergoing chemotherapy.

Humira. Spellcheck remains on-the-job. While this brand could possibly be the first name of a Romanian woman who sweeps the town square with a homemade straw broom, it’s actually for rheumatoid arthritis. Humira in Romania could actually use some Humira.

KEYTRUDA. Once again, here is a brand that has to shout at you. This medicine sounds like the latest model from a Korean car company. There would be the KEYTRUDA Sport, the KEYTRUDA hatchback, the KEYTRUYDA luxury sedan and the KEYTRUDA hybrid SUV. Instead, it is a treatment for skin cancer.

Symbicort. Could this be a circular patch of bare ground where Nigerians play Symbi, their unique version of Hackey Sack? Well no, it’s a treatment for COPD for those who are unable to play Hackey Sack due to a shortness of breath.

Trelegy. Possibly the Olde English spelling of trilogy, indicating a three-book deal for J.K. Rowling. Instead, it is another COPD med for those who don’t have a problem sitting quietly reading.

Prolia. Sounds like a small, poorly-made, vehicle from Turkistan which burns diesel, smokes like an eastern European and gets three miles to the liter. Instead, it’s a treatment for Osteoporosis.

Linzess. This brand brings to mind an exotic herb from Madagascar. “Just add a quarter teaspoon of cumin, a touch of garlic powder and, for the piece of resistance, a pinch of Linzess. Mmmm”. What it doesn’t bring to mind is constipation. Go figure.

Verzenio. Perhaps this was an eighteenth century Italian sculptor, a favorite of the Medicis. However, it’s nothing so historic or romantic because it is a treatment for breast cancer.

Zenobia: Could this be a cure for anal itch, halitosis, monthly bloat or acne? No, because this is the name of a 3rd century warrior queen who ruled the Palmyrene Empire (now Syria) after her father was slain in battle. But, you will have to admit, it would make a terrific medicine name. Just keeping you readers on your fungus-infected toes.

Prevagen. The Clown can’t remember what this is for, you’ll have to look it up.

The Clown is certain that were he involved in branding many of these products, the outcome would be very different. For psoriasis, the product could be Rashex. For constipation, SmoovMoov. For nausea, Exearp. For hemorrhoids, Coolazz. The Clown could continue but he needs to take his daily Prevagen.

Observoid of the Day: If you are offended by the word “niggardly”, you are both illiterate and way too woke.

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2 Responses to A Pathetic Target Audience

  1. Diane Tolley says:

    If nothing else, at least I have the winning words for my next few Scrabble games!
    I thank the pharmaceutical companies for both their creativity, and their use of the letter X.

  2. Brooke says:

    This is fantastic!! I especially love, and giggled out loud, at the Clown’s made up and easily understood pharma names. ?

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