Friday, March 6, 2009

And All That Yaz…???

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?


Sheila Sultani said...

I feel like you are in my head - I've been watching this stupid commercial for the last coupole of weeks and I still don't know exactly what yaz is for, and what the hell is pmdd???!!Next week we'll see a new commercial with another actor saying this is a commercial to clear up some misunderstanding formed when we made our last commercial to clear up some misunderstandings of a different commericial for YAZ -

Henson Ray said...

Very, very funny...and too could start a whole series of commercials that would eventually turn into a television series like "Lost"....

Anonymous said...

Okay = PMDD is a severe form of PMS (whatever). And yes, when birth control pills first came on the market it was discovered they had a salutary affect on acne.

The FCC or the FDA or who ever, got on their case because they were a bit vague about it's good and bad points in their original commercials.

And I'll leave a punch line to y'all

Sandi said...

Yep...birth control and wow this is the pill I happen to take. It's supposed to help with mild acne because after all most acne is caused by hormonal issues in women and that's what the pill is...hormones. It's supposed to also help with the anxiety, moody issues women get around their period. I am assuming they simply mean it helps PMS not whatever this PMDD is...but I am guessing they only confused you more. I am aware of the risks but all birth control pills carry those risks. Thankfully I do not smoke! Still, I never felt all that comfortable really with the pill so maybe some day I'll find an alternative....regardless it was funny to come upon this because it just so happens I take it. Or their last commercial was bad too. The women all broke out into a song "We're not gonna take it!" My husband decided that meant they didn't want to take that their ad campaigns really fall short I think.

Henson Ray said...

Grace---thanks for the explanation. You said it better than the commercial.

Sandi--glad you fall into the category of someone who doesn't suffer from all the side effects those commercials promise.

Roxiticus Desperate Housewives said...


I haven't seen the commercial, no time for TV these days and thankfully Yaz is not trying to reach my little girls on the Disney Channel!

It sounds completely bizarre... but I believe it may actually be for my birth control pills, Yasmin... come to think of it, I feel like going out clubbing tonight, telling the world about the unexpected benefits of Yaz... a great band from the 80s by the way.


HoundsGood said...

Are you ready for this one??

PMDD is Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

PMDD is just like PMS, although it is less about physical symptoms and more about such a dramatic hormonal imbalance

My favorite explanation appeared on a medical website:

"Attributing suicidal or homicidal feelings to "it's just PMS" is inappropriate"

...but that means its PMDD. Suicidal or homicidal thoughts, or just going batsh*t crazy are what its all about.

HoundsGood said...

oh P.S.:

I bet they had to tell people that it was inapropriate for people who suffer from PMDD because someone in the test studies went postal when their hormones were toyed with by taking Yaz. It would have had to have happened, otherwise they wouldn't be required to warn us.

The Mother said...

Reminds me of the old commercials where women chatted amiably about their feminine hygiene products, while pulling an ENTIRE box out of their purses.

Anonymous said...

Yaz and Yasmin both are causing some fairly severe psychological effects in women. For some, it's the wonder pill. For others (myself included) it's a nightmare.

Severe anxiety, panic attacks, and rapid heart rate are all side effects I encountered within 5 months of using this medication. I don't have a history of anxiety or any depressive disorder. The only thing that changed in my life was taking this pill.

Henson Ray said...

Roxy--I love Yaz, and Alison Moyet. A friend turned me on to her many years ago. Incredible voice. Hope things calm down for you soon.

HoundsGood--thanks for the very detailed explanation...almost more than I needed to know...heh, heh...
I agree that the things they warn you about probably happened during the trial studies...and yet they still move forward with the drugs...weird...

The Mother--my favorite commercial like that was when a hygiene-challenged woman was following around a reporter for a day, and she said "I need roller skates to keep up with you," to which the female TV correspondant replied "Well, you wanted the active life of a reporter." And then she reaches into her purse and pulls out its only contents--a large box of tampons. YIPEE!!!! No need for roller skates when you have a huge box of tampons you can play with. OY!

Anonymous--so sorry to hear you're having adverse reactions to this pill. Obviously it's not meant for everyone.

The Fitness Diva said...

You have made me laugh SO hard with this post! OMG, your description of that commercial is right on!

I'm not sure what the hell Yaz is for either, and this woman to me is actually just a bit creepy as she semi explains it all. Her eyes are too wide open and a bit pink in the corneas. I don't know if it's the lighting, or if it's because she's taking Yaz herself!

My favorite part of all these drug commercials is when they quickly "gloss over" the side effects, as if you'd just overlook something as harmlessly pesky as dementia or "feelings of suicide" just to take their drug.
I'm always yelling at my TV "Seriously???! Possibly killing yourself is just a SIDE EFFECT???!"
LMAO! Okay! Sign me up!

They're quite nonchalant as they explain these things to you, though, (as people romp and frolic through fields and meadows in the background) and I guess they expect you to be the same way about it, too!

LOL! Good one!

Henson Ray said...

The Fitness Diva--Glad you enjoyed the posting. I agree with you...those drug commercials are ridiculous with all the horrible things they tell you about the product...and expect you to still want it.

Samantha said...

I don't know why people were ever confused about it being a birth control pill. I guess when I think back they just discussed the other perks like shorter, lighter periods. But I knew what it was and so did my doctor!

Henson Ray said...

Samantha--I never saw the original advertisements, but the new ones sure are funny...I think they bring even more confusion than actually solve it.