De-Stigmatizing a Health Issue

>> Thursday, May 7, 2009

I heard that there is pending legislation to restrict television advertising for erectile dysfunction therapies. Basically mandating that television advertising in this category should be left for late-night and wee-hour television time slots. I guess the argument is that this kind of advertising contains sexual explicit material.

You can read a little bit about it here: as well as in many other articles.

I'm not necessarily going to comment on that part of the argument. But I would like to talk about how much progress our industry has made toward de-stigmatizing conditions that were once off-limits to talk about, or even acknowledge.

In comes Bob Dole, who openly admitted on broadcast tv that he struggles with erectile dysfunction "ED". Suddenly, literally suddenly, it's ok to talk about. With your friends, with your
doctor. Countless men and their partners could now seek help with just a little less embarrassment --- just enough less embarrassment to admit that they too have the problem.

ED isn't the only condition where we need the emotional freedom to open up and talk. Virtually every health issue at one point or another was off limits for discussion. HIV is another obvious one. Overactive bladder another.

The agency is currently working on an initiative for childhood obesity. It's a fascinating and potentially VERY rewarding project in that awareness of childhood obesity is certainly high, no doubt. But relevance to our own family situation is very low. People recognize that childhood obesity is a problem, but just not in their own family. They don't relate to it for themselves and their own children.

Working toward helping people recognize themselves and helping them to relate to the condition -- and thereby seek help in alleviating it -- is quite honestly where we do our best work.

It's why many of us got into this crazy business. And stay in it.

So while we may get caught up in debating the merits of marketing programs and their content, let's remember that we are trying to help people relate to their own health issues and seek help. We are trying to alleviate the barriers that people face in getting treatment.

Ultimately, we are trying to help people make good wellness choices. For ED or anything else.

Hope this finds you well. Jim.


Post a Comment