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Worst Radio Ads of 2012

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It's a disease that "threatens the lives" of countless Americans, say the ads. It kills like cancer and is as physiologically-based as diabetes. It is "depression" and it makes billions of dollars a year for Pharma--especially when people with real job, family and money woes are made to believe they have it. Even though the Depression Is Real ads are partially funded by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which was investigated by Congress for being a Pharma front group, they were afforded free PSA status on radio station in 2012.

Most-Sleazy-Disease-Mongering-Ad-Disguised-as-a-PSA Honorable Mention

Drive 4 COPD

 

The best way to sell a disease (and the drugs designed to go with it) is spreading fear--especially the fear that the disease is a "silent killer." So it is no wonder the "Drive 4 COPD" campaign proclaims that "Millions of Americans don't know they may have COPD"--chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.   If you ever smoked cigarettes and are over 35 you may be harboring COPD without knowing it, warn the radio ads--which then turn around and say there is a way to treat the "symptoms" you were just told you probably don't have. Though the campaign's founding partner is Boehringer Ingelheim who makes a leading COPD drug, "Drive 4 COPD" ads are termed PSAs. Are you listening   station managers?

Most-Preachy-PSA-Not-From-Pharma Award

People Struggling With Hunger

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"Six: I'm the parking attendant. I park your car every day." So begins a PSA ad that lists all the people you come into contact with every day who are silently suffering from lack of food. "I'm the gas station attendant. I pump your gas," is another person on the list as are neighbors, parents you see at PTA meetings and families of kids your kid plays with. The ads are so eager to portray listeners as heartless rich people enjoying the services of downtrodden people, they overlook the fact that most people park their own cars these days and pump their own gas. Also, anyone who's had a low income knows a bigger problem than the cost of food is the cost of housing, healthcare and transportation.

Buy-A-Car-Or-I'll-Break-Your-Knee-Caps-Persuasion Award:

New and Used Car Ads, Assorted

 

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Why do car dealerships insist on having their owners read the ads? Even though they sound like lower echelon mobsters who will fit you for cement shoes if you don't buy a car?   Even though for what they are spending on the ad campaign, a "real" announcer would cost peanuts? Why are new cars advertised at all with the price of gas escalating and half the world out of a job? And, even if someone is financially able to swing the car payments, gas, insurance, parking and repairs, who will remember the sales message after the 20 seconds of sped-up, rapid-fire disclosures at the end? ("Prices only good through"... pant pant..."must have credit score above".... pant pant..."after three months payments increase to"...pant pant..."see dealerships for details".....)

Do-You-Want-To-Be-A-Teller-or-Tell Jokes? Ad Award:

Bank Ads, Assorted

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

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