Image is everything
August 3 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Image is everything | Friday, Aug. 3, 2001

Friday, Aug. 3, 2001

Image is everything

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor I'm about to bust trying to get my hands on one of those new purple pills. Aren't you? They must be something really special. That's the impression I got when I first heard a radio commercial for Nexium, a new product from drug maker AstraZeneca.

The commercial was upbeat and the voices were warm and welcoming. An excited, pleasant-sounding woman says, "I didn't know there was a new purple pill until I talked to my doctor."

A male announcer concludes the pitch with, "It's new, it's purple, and maybe you need to know about it!"

I was ready to do a U-turn on I-440 and rush over to my doctor's office so I could get some of those marvelous new purple pills.

The commercial never bothered to say what the purple pill was for. Asthma? Arthritis? Incontinence? Influenza? Obesity?

Somehow the lack of specifics bothers me. Prescription drugs are serious business, but they're being marketed like candy.

A television commercial I saw later added little to my information base, except for the competitive tidbit that the new purple pill would be a good alternative for people who take Prilosec. Since I don't use Prilosec, however, it was little help. I wondered if Prilosec is purple, too.

I had to go on the Internet and search for Nexium's home page (www.purplepill.com) to learn that it's a heartburn medication designed to treat acid reflux disease.

I still don't know what purple coloring has to do with medical efficacy. The commercials remind me of Ray Stevens' debut song from 1961, which attributed miracle cures to "Jeremiah Peabody's Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills."

In our world, it seems, image is everything and substance hardly seems to matter.

I can hear the commercial now. The breathless woman: "I didn't know there was a new church with purple pews until I talked to my neighbor!" The authoritative announcer: "It's new, it has purple pews, and maybe you should know about it."

Maybe not.

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8/3/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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