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Worst Radio Ads of 2012

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(Article changed on October 18, 2012 at 14:39)

Martha's Dubious Achievement Awards for 2012

You would never know there's a recession going on by listening to commercial radio in 2012. Car dealership ads were exceeded only by home remodeling and bank ads. In fact, if unemployment is really going down, it's probably all the contactors trying to "repipe" and "weatherproof" our homes. Nor were "sexual performance" ads as prevalent as in 2011--maybe all the men are out buying cars.


Hard Times Continue by Martha Rosenberg

The Discover Card became a new entrant in the funny ad category. Netflix' seems to have suspended its hilarious mock quiz show ads in which contestants anticipate the hosts' questions ("If you multiply...?"/"The square root of 36!"/ "Correct!") in 2012. And Geico replaced its inimitable satirical ads with an unfunny, blathering   Englishman who never goes away. Why?

But there were also more wolves-in-sheep-clothing in the public service announcement (PSA) category. Big Pharma continues to pass off its ads as for the public good and radio stations continue to fall for the ruse.

Here are some early dubious radio awards for 2012.

More-Than-You'd-Ever-Want-To-Know-About Cancer Award:

Proton Therapy at ProCure Centers

Are so many people getting cancer, the topic is now fit for radio ads? Or is treating it just so lucrative that ads can ignore the 90 percent plus of people not affected and not interested in the ads? Either way, ProCure ads for "prostate, brain and lung cancer" seem to be everywhere. Do we really want to know that men can avoid "erectile dysfunction" and "incontinence" if they treat their prostate cancer with proton therapy at a ProCure Center? Wouldn't men rather hear this from their doctor --and we prefer that they do so?

Most-Sleazy-Disease-Mongering-Ad-Disguised-as-a-PSA Award:

Depression Is Real

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?

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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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