Humira Ad, Warranties and CYA

There is an ad for the arthritis medication Humira that runs on CNN very often. In the spot a group of volunteers – indicated by their yellow T-shirts – have gathered in a schoolyard to assemble some playground equipment. It is a warm, fuzzy kind of ad, the main character seems to be a pleasant woman on whom the camera focuses while she goes about pitching-in. There is no dialogue, just a narrator extolling the virtues of Humira for part of the ad, then listing the possible side effects for the rest.

But then the other foot fell. The playground equipment company called to verify delivery and set up a convenient time to have their technicians come by and assemble things.

Such an ad must help product sales or, I assume it would have been canned long ago. Therefore as a commercial it works, but on another level it sends the wrong message.

Several years ago a local grade school purchased some playground gear for the schoolyard. Just like the ad, a group of volunteers, I assume parents for the most part, met one Saturday and proceeded to assemble the equipment. They got into the local newspaper and a good time was had by all.  

But then the other foot fell. The playground equipment company called to verify delivery and set up a convenient time to have their technicians come by and assemble things. Upon being told there was no need to do that as a group of parents had taken on that task, the company informed the school that unless the installation was carried out by their staff, they would not be liable for any accidents or injuries. Essentially the warranty was nullified.

The school and parents could only grit their teeth and get on with what was required. So down came the playground equipment, along came the company technicians, and up went the equipment with all warranties and liabilities in place!

I would have thought that this procedure would have been made very clear to the school beforehand. We live in a CYA (Cover Your Ass) society which leads to some evidently redundant signage. For instance:

This is a tree and branch chipper made by the Wood/Chuck Chipper Corporation of Shelby, North Carolina. It is loud and powerful, reducing even significant size branches and limbs to sawdust in seconds.


And here is a bold yellow sign that you might think was unnecessary. But there it is because I suspect if someone ever did place a body part in the chipper feed chute, only to lose said body part, some lawyer would claim that his or her client had no idea you were not supposed to do that. There should be a sign at least. So now there is.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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