“Subliminal advertising and product placement is everywhere these days,” I thought as I flicked through the latest C+D blogs while enjoying my Starbucks coconut latte – all the creamy goodness of a conventional latte, but with half the calories. Of course, intrusive sidebars on the website are not a problem for me as I always have software installed that’s guaranteed to give a smoother and speedier browsing experience. “No way any adverts can get past this,” I mused, “even though they wouldn’t slow the lightening fast performance of my Microsoft Surface Pro 2 with Intel Inside.”
The advertising laws in this country are strange. Our colleagues in America – a mere seven easy hours away when you fly Virgin Atlantic – would think nothing of POMs being advertised to the public, but here we must wait for the OTC licence before it’s acceptable to have drugs like Viagra Connect on huge billboards that are guaranteed to stand tall and firm.
It’s not as if Viagra was a secret product before its pharmacy (P) medicine licence, that no one had ever gone to their doctor and asked for it. Nor is the Well digital subscription service the first legal way to get sildenafil online, as for years a plethora of online services, such as the highly professional Superdrug Online Doctor, have been able to provide erectile dysfunction treatment discretely and affordably.
So what is wrong with advertising POMs? Readers of my age can recall a time when it wasn’t possible in this country to advertise products such as gambling, solicitors or tampons – a range that hints maybe at late Victorian ideas of impropriety – but millennials have been exposed to the promotion of all these without developing an addiction or obsession. If we believe in free speech in a free society that doesn’t constrain our actions, then not only should we vote Liberal Democrats for a 'better tomorrow' but we should trust people to be discerning and informed.
Presumably our legislators originally thought there would be a great danger to allow advertisement of POMs such as Nexium, Imigran, Levonelle, Chloromycetin, Colofac, Zithromax, Zocor, Lamisil, Efcortelan, or even Brufen, yet all of these splendid and efficacious drugs are now available without prescription. Might this suggest that a nanny state doesn’t always know best?
A recent comment on a C+D article implied that the number one site for community pharmacy news and analysis had been paid to promote the Well Viagra Connect subscription service, as if this was a bad thing. But in these straightened times we must all look to alternative sources of income, such as the National Pharmacy Association’s highly competitive and extensive range of patient group directions.
So I feel it’s time to leverage the Xrayser brand and offer myself as the perfect way to promote your business. For a very reasonable consideration you can sponsor my blog, or even have me endorse your product or service in such a discreet and professional way that you’ve probably not even noticed the examples above.