Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Let's rub some salt in that wound

Cue oboe music. Dim color intensity. Action! Or not. Whatever.

When the commercials for Cymbalta first started to air a few years ago, I wanted to believe that the compelling voice-over questions were an attempt at making lazy doctors think about their patients who had been getting superficial attention in lieu of effective treatment.

Now when the music starts, I can't help but think I've had it all wrong. There's the dog, the kid, the spouse, the garden...
  • Who does depression hurt?
  • Where does depression hurt?
The camera pans from the depressed to The Disappointed. The air of guilt is palpable.

We're miserable because you are depressed. Our life sucks because you are so lame. Snap out of it. Pop some Cymbalta and get over it, already.

Because, it's not enough to feel awful, low, sad, overwhelmed, and worthless. The folks at Lilly pharmaceutical want to remind you that you are making everyone around you suffer with your self-indulgent behavior. You are neglecting your responsibilities. What makes you so special? Stop dragging everyone else down with you. Take the damn drug--it's your duty.

I am media savvy, and I know what the real message of this commercial is intended to be. This is your fault, you know. Pay attention. They're smacking depressed people upside the head.


Ethereal Highway said...

I saw this commercial a few months ago and I heard the exact same message you did. I thought of you then, May. And I didn't care about the others and how it made them feel. I thought, "Oh, yeah? Well, what about how MAY feels, huh? Why are her feelings less important?" Assholes. Made me want to slap someone. Yes, they will use guilt or anything else they feel they need to in order to keep the sales numbers up.

The whole thing really tweaked me. I thought it was lower than scum.

May Voirrey said...

(I had to make a small edit in the original post, but it's essentially the same.)

It really bothers me that Lilly has chosen to berate people with depression rather than show a more positive message. This idea that, "Nobody wants to be around you. You're ruining everything, we're going to leave if you don't shape up" is so mean spirited. I'll bet they did a focus group with people suffering from depression wherein they determined that the things these patients FEARED were abandonment and lack of support, and they used that as the hook in the ad campaign.

It's just sick.

Sophie in the Moonlight said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who took their "message" the wrong way.

Funny thing is that I tried Cymbalta and it put me in anaphylaxis shock. I woke up my husband with my gasping wheezing. Wonder how anaphylaxis shock makes loved ones feel?

May Voirrey said...

My dad took it and it made him drool. He was aphasic and eventually developed dysarthria, so I never knew if it made him feel any better. I'll bet he felt like shit for a few weeks as the Cymbalta was discontinued from his feeding tube mix.