Have any of you seen the recent commercial on TV for a product called Yaz? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what the product is actually used for, but I think it’s some kind of pregnancy prevention. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are in for a real treat, because it paints a very clear picture of the current disconnect between pharmaceutical advertising and the general public to whom they are “targeting.”
If you usually DVR most of your TV shows like I do, you might not even notice the commercial, as it would probably fly past you without much ballyhoo. But if you should happen to get caught someday watching actual LIVE TV and you have to sit through the commercial, then be prepared for the strangest explanation of a drug you’ve ever heard. And if you’re not paying close attention, you might totally miss all the blatant attempts at toning down all the horrible side effects that could happen should you decide to take the so called medication.
But I digress. Let’s examine this advertising phenomenon from the start. The commercial opens with an attractive woman wandering around a bar or nightclub. There are many people in the background enjoying themselves, and indeed the woman herself is dressed up as if she’s ready for a slinky night on the town. However, before she can go about her business, she feels it necessary to take some time out to talk directly into the camera that is presumably hovering in front of her. And when she speaks, it is with the casual earnestness of someone who is trying to “play” you. Her voice sounds relaxed and genuine, as if she is someone you could definitely trust—perhaps she even reminds you of your best friend or your sister. (Or if you’re a guy, your best friend’s sister.)
But before you have time to wonder what kind of party she’s at, the woman’s tone turns somewhat serious. She explains that she’s there to clear up a few misconceptions about Yaz that previous commercials for the product apparently created. (And you thought she just came to this party to have some fun. Silly You! She actually has an agenda.) And this is where the commercial really starts to get confusing. Because while I was pretty sure the ad was for an oral contraceptive, the woman first launches into all the reasons you should or shouldn’t take the pill if you have mild or moderate acne. Acne? Then she throws in a few laid-back references to a few nasty side effects that might occur should you decide to take the drug, along with a laundry list of other factors you should consider before embarking on this magical journey. And if you smoke—forget about it. Because the drug increases the risk of blood clots, stroke and heart attack. Yipee! Sign me up now. (Well, maybe not me, because I was still pretty sure this was a drug intended for women only. I mean, I certainly didn’t see any men in the background getting Yazzed up about this.)
And if I didn’t think I was confused enough at this point, the woman suddenly threw in a new term I’d never even heard of. PMDD. Because apparently there’s even more confusion over the difference between PMDD and PMS, because if you have PMDD, this drug might not be right for you. Or maybe it would be right for you. I have no idea, because I was not privy to the explanation for this secret acronym. Though evidently everyone at the party was familiar, because the other guests began avoiding this woman like the plague.
Anyway, by the end of the commercial, the woman appeared to have made her way around the club, effectively dropping her words of wisdom wherever she went. I can only imagine that her running commentary on “risk factors” and “serious side effects” must have put a heavy damper on the party atmosphere that evening. Especially if she kept making references to Yaz everywhere she went. I wouldn’t be surprised if she even conducted special seminars in the women’s lounge during dance breaks, complete with gift bags and a power point presentation. I don’t know about you, but I would not want to meet someone like this at any social event I went to.
But that’s just me. What’s your take on this whole Yaz phenomenon?