Marketing and medical research – two polar opposite industries. or are they? One is obsessed with the point at which we’re going to die and the other is obsessed with the point at which we die and how much it can sell to us before the inevitable moment! It’s all about sales – because, after all, money makes the world go round.
At the end of the day, the product, be it a message of doom and gloom or a new model of hoover made ‘just for men’, is what drives the money machine. Cynical? Yes. True? Well, considering some highly respected health experts are also the mouthpieces of global pharmaceutical companies whose sole aim is to sell as many legal drugs as possible – hell yeah! And this is where the jigsaw of sordid intentions fits together because…
Talking About Death Really Gets Our Attention
“Hello, did you know that, one day, you’re going to die?” No, seriously – you have two choices: buy this new batch of drugs that will add many healthy, joyous years to your life or go out screaming in agony as a mutated flu virus tears through your body and rips your sphincter inside out. Or not, if the scientists got it wrong again.
Death is a hot topic round the dinner tables of old peoples homes. More than anyone else, they know that brief coach trips to the seaside and bingo nights are just another way of killing time until the inevitable. But what about the rest of us? Death is too far away to contemplate, right? If I knew the answer to that all my mail would be addressed to Mr. G Reaper.
The fact that we bury any thoughts of our own demise in the deepest recesses of our minds isn’t lost on either the marketing or medical research industry. Which is why they are highly effective and finding ways of reminding us that we won’t live forever.
The private health care industry has used our fear of death to great effect. “Who’s going to look after you in your final days?” is a fair question. But, unless you’ve managed to piss off every member of your family then there should be somebody – shouldn’t there?
Marketing and medical research: walking hand in hand, humming a gay ditty whilst mentally totting up how you made them just that little bit richer today. All they had to do was reinforce a well known fact we will one day be worm food. Genius.
Talking About Sex Gets An Even Greater Share Of Our Attention
But death is a fact of life. We might not be overly comfortable with the idea that we’re on a slow train of a 6 foot hole (or a midnight express, depending on your lifestyle) but, after a while and like your regular top up of drugs, the effects start to wear off. The death message gets a little weaker. Unless your name is Michael Jackson and you’re prepared to single handedly revive or prop-up the oxygen tent industry.
So marketers and medical research turn to another nuclear option in their arsenal – SEX! See how that one word got your attention? Now, if you got a sudden rush of excitement and you became a little more alert then welcome to normality. If your first thought was one of sexing chicks in battery farm then I suggest you seek help – now.
Images have an odd, bewitching hold over us. Next time you’re sat drooling over the goggle box in the corner of your living room (or, if you’re really decadent, the ceiling of your bedroom) stop for a moment a look. What did you see? A mindless mash of images or something more?
In most cases, modern adverts are filled with youthful, good looking actors and actresses. So what? Pop enough pills and you can join the party. But if you look a little harder you’ll notice something – they’re looking at you. Staring you in the eyes. Without a stye or corneal abrasion in sight.
Now that’s real power. You see, like a horse to water, we humble humans have been conditioned by millenia of development to trust in the power of the eyes. Communication, learning, trustworthiness and the ability to judge a person’s mood and intent can all be gleaned from some serious eye time.
But don’t push it too far – intense staring that marks you out as some kind of screaming maniac intent on chopping your co-conversationist into little pieces is not socially acceptable. It’s also likely that the conversation will end with you ‘eating tarmac’.
Now take those factors, tear them a new arsehole and pump the resulting toxic mix of human interaction and marketing hype through the television. What do you get? Sales. But not just any sales. Researchers and marketers rave about the power of eye to eye contact because it works so sit back, relax and watch in amazement as some doe eyed beauty tempts you take a bite from her wrinkle reducing apple.
Repeat Custom Is The Heart Of Every Company
Still here? See? It works. Fact: we, as repeat customers, are far more valuable than the new customers that pretty much every organisation is looking for. We’re like loyal dogs – every so often we get excited when our masters finally throw us a bone. It’s a just a bone – not event a decent offering with a few morsels of meat attached to it but you’ll be back.
Acquiring a customer is far harder and more expensive than keeping your existing shoppers. Why? It’s all about acquisition costs. A study of British retail outlets suggests that it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain one. Marketing budgets are made to work hard because, hey,- we’re human and we’re sceptical. After all, you need to prove your new pile cream is more effective and soothing then my current favourite, ‘HemAway’.
Ernest, the CEO of HemAway, would be very pleased if he heard my declaration of undying love for his brand. The pretender to the throne, SphincBlitz, know they have a difficult road ahead of them. But, once they convince me my piles are safer in their hands, they’ve won. This concept can be applied to pretty much any branch of the pharmaceuticals industry.
Three prime examples of how the pharmaceutical companies have copied marketing pro’s in order to add more coin to the Everest-sized cash pile. There are more and I’ll be taking a leaf out of your doctors book when he carries out your next health checkup with more indepth probing.