Weekly Writing Challenge: Image vs. Text – Viagra advertisement


The Weekly Writing Challenge offered the theme of Image vs. Text this week. This brought advertising to my mind. The concept of what is called direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs differs greatly in Canada when compared to the United States. In the US these ads provide details on what the drug treats and then go into chapter and verse about potential side effects. They usually end with a phrase such as “ask you doctor if (insert drug name here) is right for you”. The goal is to have people arrive at the doctor’s office with their requests for these drugs, before they have even been diagnosed by the doctor.

In Canada the ads are much stricter and simpler; the product can be displayed, but you can’t say what it’s for. According to the Health Council of Canada (emphasis is mine):

Direct To Consumer Advertising is prohibited under two provisions in Canada’s Food and Drugs Act, which is enforced by Health Canada. Despite this prohibition, Health Canada currently allows two forms of advertising:

• Reminder ads: these include only the brand name and no health claims or hints about the product’s use. No risk information is required. In the US, reminder ads are prohibited for products with “black box” warnings of serious risks on their label.

• Disease-oriented or help-seeking ads: these do not mention a specific brand but discuss a condition and suggest consumers ask their doctor about an unspecified treatment. No risk information is required.

In an effort to stay within the Canadian rules I propose the following three-step concept for a very popular blue pill:

BEFORE

Viagra

AFTER

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