Merck uses Madagascar to market product to kids


Tonington
#1
Seems the marketing department at Merck Schering Plough may have stepped in it big time. The FTC is now investigating, as Merck released a chewable formulation of their Claritan allergy medication, with cartoon characters on the box, and free stickers inside!


How they didn't anticipate the backlash is beyond me. The Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern Universities School of Law sent the letter, with the support of another ten or so groups to the FTC for breaking a long-standing precedent against marketing pharmaceutical products directly to children.

The lawyer at PHAI:
"This campaign is in violation of longstanding FTC precedent to protect children from child-directed marketing of OTC supplements and, by extension, OTC drugs," PHAI attorney Cara Wilking wrote in the letter. "Dreamworks licensed its Madagascar characters for use on a number of children’s food products including General Mills’ fruit-flavored gummy snacks and fruit-flavored Airheads candy. The use of the same licensed characters on fruit-flavored OTC allergy medication, children’s candy and children’s gummy snacks creates a very real danger of product confusion and may induce children to over-consume Grape-Flavored Children’s Claritin allergy medication.
Ahh those marketing folks...caught with their hand in the cookie jar this time!

Various news articles:https://news.google.ca/news/story?hl...ed=0CC4QqgIwAA
 
CDNBear
#2
+100

Great OP Ton.
 
SLM
+2
#3
Not that I disagree with the notion that we shouldn't be marketing directly to kids for anything, but where do Flintstones Chewable Vitamins fit in all of this?

That was available when I was a kid and that's got to be a least a decade now.
 
Tonington
+2
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

Not that I disagree with the notion that we shouldn't be marketing directly to kids for anything, but where do Flintstones Chewable Vitamins fit in all of this?

That was available when I was a kid and that's got to be a least a decade now.

The ruling precedent in this case goes back to 1977, which is some time after the Flintstone's vitamins were marketed. Some company tried to market vitamins with Spiderman, but they ran the commercial ads during the television program, and placed ads in the comic books. In that way they were advertising directly to the children, which isn't a great deal different than commercials with Fred Flintstone hocking vitamins. I'm not sure about the Bayer's history with the regulators, I've been trying to track down anything related to that product too. But so far just coming up with current comparisons between the products.
 
SLM
+1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Tonington View Post

The ruling precedent in this case goes back to 1977, which is some time after the Flintstone's vitamins were marketed. Some company tried to market vitamins with Spiderman, but they ran the commercial ads during the television program, and placed ads in the comic books. In that way they were advertising directly to the children, which isn't a great deal different than commercials with Fred Flintstone hocking vitamins. I'm not sure about the Bayer's history with the regulators, I've been trying to track down anything related to that product too. But so far just coming up with current comparisons between the products.

I can understand the reasoning behind the ban and don't think we should be marketing anything to kids directly, personally. But at the same time as someone who raised two kids I know that a lot of parents would consider it beneficial to have those kinds of incentives to encourage their kids to "take their medicine", provided that medicine is necessary of course. There is the old adage of "a spoonful of sugar making the medicine go down" after all.

I'm almost of two minds about it all. I'm not sure stickers in a box crosses that much of a line. All other things being equal, I can see myself selecting that option over another brand for that very reason. Kind of like bandages with cartoon characters on them.

I definitely agree they should not be running commercials during cartoon programming or placing ads in comic books. But aside from that, I'm not sure what to think about the whole thing to be really honest.
 
Niflmir
+1
#6
I don't think they should be allowed to market pharmaceuticals at all.

Quote:

How many millions of people out there are suffering under the strain of a deadline at work or pre-date jitters, but don't realize there's a drug that could provide relief? Zoloft isn't just for severe anxiety or depression. Got the Monday blues? Kids driving you nuts? Let Zoloft help. Zoloft.

Yes, popping pills is definitely the correct way to deal with pre-date jitters.
 
SLM
+1
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by Niflmir View Post

I don't think they should be allowed to market pharmaceuticals at all.

You have a definite point there! I especially love all those "new drug" commercials where they show you just how wonderful these people's live have become due to this medication. Of course, they never get around to telling you what the heck it's for! Just "Ask your doctor about....".
 
CDNBear
+1
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

You have a definite point there! I especially love all those "new drug" commercials where they show you just how wonderful these people's live have become due to this medication. Of course, they never get around to telling you what the heck it's for! Just "Ask your doctor about....".

The list of side effects make me LOL for real.
 
captain morgan
+3
#9  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

You have a definite point there! I especially love all those "new drug" commercials where they show you just how wonderful these people's live have become due to this medication. Of course, they never get around to telling you what the heck it's for! Just "Ask your doctor about....".

Listen closely to the television advertisements some time, the list of side-effects is lengthy and very scary. To be honest, I believe that the identification of the raft of side-effects (including death for some of them - no sh*t; death) does more to eliminate that product from the minds of many potential consumers than the ad does to attract them
 
SLM
+2
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBear View Post

The list of side effects make me LOL for real.

Quote: Originally Posted by captain morgan View Post

Listen closely to the television advertisements some time, the list of side-effects is lengthy and very scary. To be honest, I believe that the identification of the raft of side-effects (including death for some of them - no sh*t; death) does more to eliminate that product from the minds of many potential consumers than the ad does to attract them

Oh definitely! That's the other funny part of it.

The last time I recall seeing a commercial for a new 'flu' medicine it listed as some of the potential side effects things like: headache, nausea (may cause stomach trouble), trouble sleeping. Hmm, what does that sound like? Oh yeah, the flu!
 
Niflmir
+3
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

You have a definite point there! I especially love all those "new drug" commercials where they show you just how wonderful these people's live have become due to this medication. Of course, they never get around to telling you what the heck it's for! Just "Ask your doctor about....".

If you look at the profits of most pharmaceutical companies, the largest sources come from selling unpatented drugs. It seems that after the bans on pharmaceutical marketing were lifted in the 80s, the growth in profits of these corporations exploded as they advertised for essentially nothing as you indicate.

Have you ever tried asking your doctor about a drug? They will just prescribe it to you.

"What can you tell me about Zantax?"

"Here's a prescription for it."

A bit extreme, but not far off...
 
captain morgan
+1
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

Oh definitely! That's the other funny part of it.

The last time I recall seeing a commercial for a new 'flu' medicine it listed as some of the potential side effects things like: headache, nausea (may cause stomach trouble), trouble sleeping. Hmm, what does that sound like? Oh yeah, the flu!


That's a great perspective. Maybe next we can expect some group to market migraine medication in the form of a ball peen hammer... Just apply 2 doses directly on the spot of the head that hurts the most and sleep off the migraine
 
Tonington
+3
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morgan View Post

Listen closely to the television advertisements some time, the list of side-effects is lengthy and very scary.

And incomplete. Phase 3 trials involve a few thousand individuals, so the more rare side effects will not likely show up at true population level frequencies, if even at all. Nobody should take their good health for granted!
 
Cliffy
+1
#14
I once told a doctor that I would not take the medication he prescribed.
He said, "Why not."
"Because the side effects are worse than the ailment."
"What side effects? Where did you get that ridiculous notion?"
"From the American Medical Association web site."
That shut him up.
 
SLM
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morgan View Post

That's a great perspective. Maybe next we can expect some group to market migraine medication in the form of a ball peen hammer... Just apply 2 doses directly on the spot of the head that hurts the most and sleep off the migraine

Yeah that would do the trick! Lol.

Quote: Originally Posted by Tonington View Post

And incomplete. Phase 3 trials involve a few thousand individuals, so the more rare side effects will not likely show up at true population level frequencies, if even at all. Nobody should take their good health for granted!

Honestly I think those commercials are really just about establishing brand recognition early, I don't think they really expect anyone to ask their doctor about it.

It's just funny to hear how they ever so slightly speed up the voice of the narrator when he's listing all the side effects though.

But you're right, no one should take their health for granted.
 
Niflmir
+2
#16
I remember reading the side effects for the male birth control pill (which is doing clinical trials still, I think).

They were in general so severe that they were advising anyone taking it to not drink alcohol at all. Seems like a pretty big price to pay just to shoot blanks.
 
lone wolf
+2
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

You have a definite point there! I especially love all those "new drug" commercials where they show you just how wonderful these people's live have become due to this medication. Of course, they never get around to telling you what the heck it's for! Just "Ask your doctor about....".

I love the auctioneer-style side effect warnings....
 
TenPenny
+1
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by Niflmir View Post

I don't think they should be allowed to market pharmaceuticals at all.

Maybe we should just ban them completely. If you're sick, you should die.

Quote: Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post

I once told a doctor that I would not take the medication he prescribed.
He said, "Why not."
"Because the side effects are worse than the ailment."
"What side effects? Where did you get that ridiculous notion?"
"From the American Medical Association web site."
That shut him up.

He's obviously an idiot. Every doctor that I know understands the side effects of medications they prescribe.
 
captain morgan
+1
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by Tonington View Post

And incomplete. Phase 3 trials involve a few thousand individuals, so the more rare side effects will not likely show up at true population level frequencies, if even at all. Nobody should take their good health for granted!

The final sentence is the most important one by far.

Too bad that this wasn't the message that was aggressively advertised

Quote: Originally Posted by Niflmir View Post

I remember reading the side effects for the male birth control pill (which is doing clinical trials still, I think).

They were in general so severe that they were advising anyone taking it to not drink alcohol at all. Seems like a pretty big price to pay just to shoot blanks.


Not getting drunk might be the actual 'birth control' in this case.
 
Niflmir
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPenny View Post

Maybe we should just ban them completely. If you're sick, you should die.

If leeches won't cure it, it doesn't need curing. In all seriousness, there are valid reasons why pharmaceutical advertisements are unnecessary and dangerous.
 
TenPenny
+1
#21
Let's take that one step farther - if there is no marketing of pharmaceuticals, how would doctors or pharmacists know about them?
 
Niflmir
+1
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPenny View Post

Let's take that one step farther - if there is no marketing of pharmaceuticals, how would doctors or pharmacists know about them?

The exact same way they knew about them before the 80s. By reading medical research like they are supposed to.
 
TenPenny
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Niflmir View Post

The exact same way they knew about them before the 80s. By reading medical research like they are supposed to.

You think that before the 1980s, there was no marketing of pharmaceuticals? And that doctors and pharmacists spend their time reading research journals?
 
Niflmir
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPenny View Post

You think that before the 1980s, there was no marketing of pharmaceuticals? And that doctors and pharmacists spend their time reading research journals?

There was a legal ban of pharmaceutical advertisements before this time. The lifting of the ban is known to be the cause of pharmaceutical profits increasing since then.

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Pharmaceuticals, ProQuest Discovery Guides

To be precise, I mean that there was a ban on consumer advertisement, not professional business to business advertisement.
 
SLM
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by Niflmir View Post

There was a legal ban of pharmaceutical advertisements before this time. The lifting of the ban is known to be the cause of pharmaceutical profits increasing since then.

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Pharmaceuticals, ProQuest Discovery Guides

To be precise, I mean that there was a ban on consumer advertisement, not professional business to business advertisement.

Not to say that I agree or disagree specifically with the idea of banning pharmaceutical consumer advertisements, but it does raise the question, what about consumer awareness/informed choices? Obviously prescribed medications cannot be obtained without consulting with a doctor, but I've never been one to believe that a doctor should be blindly followed. I think it's up to us as individuals to be informed about the options out there when it comes to our health. Doctor's advice should be heavily considered of course.
 
L Gilbert
#26
"Merck uses Madagascar to market product to kids"

Yeah, like kids have any defenses against the multiple insidious tools of marketing. This would be just like jousting with the fellow posted in this pic: