Peter Pan May Have It Right: Why Grow Up?
I’m sure we can all make a pretty robust list of “things that have changed since we were kids.” But, what would be at the top of the marketing list? Sure, social media is a candidate, with all the various apps attendant there unto. For me, however, it’s the radical escalation of consumer marketing on behalf of prescription pharmaceuticals. We have become inured to it, I suppose: It’s been around episodically since at least the 90s, but clearly there’s been a crescendo of late. My question is more along the lines of what does a 16-year-old make of the über messaging: This is what it means to age.
Now, I know it may seem nonsensical to ask, since it’s unlikely that teens watch the kind of commercial laden, network television that comes crammed to the gills with ads for Viagra, but humor me. A casual game of ‘what if?’ Consider the notion that ‘nearly half of men over 40 experience occasional erectile dysfunction.’ Does just having that as atmospheric background noise tells them something about the half-life of the romantic bell-curve they are just on the cusp of entering? What about the psoriasis and potential weight-loss properties of non-insulin treatments for adult diabetes treatments? TMI about adulthood? Ditto ‘bladder leakage.” How about all the famous men chatting about their heart medication and whether or not they can eat a salad at the golf club. Mama, what is A-fib? What is ulcerative colitis? What is opioid constipation? What is IBS-D? How about Rheumatoid Arthritis? Mama, what is CLPD?
It’s not pretty, this impression that adulthood is 10 pounds of medical emergencies, flare-ups and chronic irritants crammed into a five-pound pill case. We nonchalantly observe recent college graduates opting to live in their parents’ basements and blithely term it “infantilization.” Perhaps. But maybe it’s just wisdom. Who volunteers for the decline these ads auger and make seem inescapably inevitable? When I was a kid, adulthood looked kind of glammy and Mad Men-ish with a top note of James Bondian adventure. Now, not so much.
The other major change in marketing, of course, is the legal eagle ads which stalk medical marketing: Did you use Cialis? Call us at 800-GET-RICH.