Thursday, November 15, 2007

RLS Simulator: Weird Wired Science

"It's not a diagnosis machine in any way, shape, or form," said Allison, the Creative Director for the RLS simulator commissioned by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "It is an awareness piece for the physician community ... so they will have a better understanding of the science."

Allison was interviewed in a Wired Science Video: "The Business of Disease," which aired on PBS last night.

This video critique of the RLS drug marketing campaign is vastly more informative than the Consumer Reports video critique I reported on yesterday (see "RLS Foundation (aka GSK?) Calls for Boycott of Consumer Reports Over Ad Spoof").

The most interesting part of the video was when the Wired Science reporter strapped on the weird device and confessed that "It's not too bad. Just a bit of tingling. But I can imagine if I had this happen night after night, you know, for hours on end, it would bug me."

Meanwhile the thing sounded like a buzz saw! Must be those ants in there. I am sure every physician who straps this simulator on will understand the science of a vibrator, but I'm not so sure they will gain any more understanding of the "science" of RLS as Allison claimed.

Aside from seeing an RLS simulator in action, I learned that symptom diaries, which are ubiquitous on product websites, are designed to instruct patients how to frame their symptoms as a diagnosis, which makes it easy for doctors to prescribe medicine for that diagnosis. Pretty cool way of manipulating the patient-physician interaction, huh?

Richard Myer, blogger at World of DTC Marketing, was featured as the resident pharma marketing expert in the video. "Creating a need, that's what marketing is all about," said Myer. "If people don't know they have a need, create a need."

BTW, Rich owes me a favor for passing his contact information along to the Wired Science producers when they contacted me looking for an expert they could interview. Within hours of getting my recommendation, they showed up at Rich's home for filming. Need I say more about why it pays to be on my good side?

2 comments:

  1. joe t.5:36 PM

    i can't believe Consumer Reports mocked the pharma companies using a real condition, they clearly don't have it.

    i'm not fond of the pharma companies either, or the ads. but to suggest the Rx companies invented Restless Leg Syndrome --is so wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So wrong, but so easy to poke fun at! Humans are weird that way.

    ReplyDelete

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