Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Blog Ate My Job!

I just received this comment via my "Contact Us" form:
"John, while the information you post online is informative and I am glad someone is bring (sic) things to public attention it is also can be estremely (sic) opnionated (sic) and unjust. Please realize that the actions you take in your writing can and has cost people their jobs. I work for an ad agency. I try my best to ensure my contributions are not to just sell drugs but to educate consumers. Pharma is about money but its also about making people better. When ads come out they are a result of multiple hands touching a piece from agency, to brand teams to mlr. When you decide to callout an ad you are impacting all those people. So please think about that when writing your blog. And look at what guidelines fda has set and where they still need to go. Rather then being a tatle (sic) tale be a solution maker."
I'm guessing this has something to do with the post I made earlier today about "Retro Relpax" ads (here).

The person who wrote chose to remain anonymous, so I will I will just refer to him/her as "Anon."

Anon claims that my writing "can and has cost people their jobs" and I assume he/she means his/her job because the subject line of the message was "lost my job."

First of all, it seems pretty unlikely that someone would be fired within hours after an "opnionated" and "unjust" blog post was made. Who can be so cruel to fire someone on the spot like that, especially someone who is just one of the "multiple hands" responsible for creating and approving ads?

I wonder if Anon also complained to Deborah Dick-Rath over at MM&M. She wrote her critical piece about the Replax print ad way before I did. She really ripped into the creative team: "And while the Relpax creative team put in a valiant effort, in the end, they were defeated by too many typefaces, too much copy, too many messages and a somewhat unfortunate choice in art direction."

I suppose she gets a free pass because she started out with praise, faint though it was.

Maybe this doesn't have anything to do with Relpax at all. I just can't recall, however, any recent critical posts I have made that may have gotten Anon fired.

Anyway, I assume Anon will be able to collect a couple of years of unemployment insurance, unless Congress refuses to extend that benefit. When I was laid off many years ago during the dotcom bust, I only received 26 weeks of unemployment insurance - damn George Bush and those Republicans!


  1. John, perhaps Anon lost his/her job because of all those extremely painful typos and spelling mistakes?!

  2. People who put information (even ads) out for public consumption need to be ready to deal with public reaction. I didn't find anything "unjust" in your blog post, and it wasn't all that opinionated, at least compared to some of your other posts (insert winky face here). Anon is just going through the anger/blame phase of his/her loss. My sympathies to him/her (been there), but your blog is not to blame.

    BTW, I agree with Carolyn. As an editor, I found reading Anon's comments hard to get through because of the errors. If you want to be taken seriously, people, use spell check!

  3. Anonymous10:57 AM

    "First of all, it seems pretty unlikely that someone would be fired within hours after an "opnionated" and "unjust" blog post was made. Who can be so cruel to fire someone on the spot like that, especially someone who is just one of the "multiple hands" responsible for creating and approving ads?"

    - First, I love your blog, so please just keep on doing what you do just as you do it. For the record though,the people who would be so cruel manage things called ad agencies, and they typically respond to very angry clients by firing someone. This person is typically called the "Fall Guy" and the process of falling is called "getting thrown under the bus." From the statement above I'm guessing you probably don't know what it's like to work at a consumer pharma ad agency in 2012, and that's okay, because you don't.

    Endless supporting documentation found here(thanks George Parker):

  4. Anonymous5:07 PM

    John, for anyone to use the term education and pharma marketing piece in the same sentence is a bit of a dichotomy, in my opinion.
    I've never worked with an agency or a pharma team who were able to put the two together in a fair and balanced way to truly benefit the patient, i.e., with any further info than basic info on the disease state. The education portion is slanted toward the product and the marketing team is the slant.
    One real reason may be that doctors disagree with dietary/treament stategies and so the piece becomes homogenous.
    What you really need is a group of health care professionals writing the material and a graphic designer for the artwork, that is, if you want slick.
    Or Pharma Co's ought to give a portion of their budget to say, the Amer Diabetes Assoc, to pay for their materials and each company hand them out to offices.
    To the first Anon, marketing spend is going to drop like a rock when ObamaCare gets into full swing next year so maybe its better to find a good job now, vs. a year from now, when unemployment may be 11-15%, unless you move to DC and work for new health care bureacracy.
    --from a regular anonymous poster.

  5. While we're talking about typos ... is it Replax or Relpax? (Sorry John - couldn't resist!) Thanks for posting this. As a fellow industry observer and sometimes blogger, I have often wondered about the behind-the-scenes implications of the opinions we write. I'm sorry if someone lost their job over this. But as others point out, I expect there were other reasons and - if their employer was truly that cut-throat - perhaps Anon is better off after all. At least he expressed his emotions with a blog comment instead of going postal. Keep writing!

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Ha Ha. Spell check is worthless for correcting drug names! The correct name is Relpax, but on a subconscious level I like Replax better. It's easier for me to remember and it carries just as much meaning as Relpax, unless the "pax" part is supposed to connote "peace" as in "Pax vobiscum" (peace be unto you).

  6. Pax in France is the term for people who have opted not to get married the traditional way, but want legal rights observed!
    Pity for Anon, agree with Anon 2 and Wendy's comments.
    Keep writing them John - we need these blog postings to keep Pharma (and agencies) on their toes, and hopefully help clean the industry up a bit.


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