State of the Brand :: by Jason Voiovich

A weekly discussion of how branding affects the world around you.

How to make cigarettes sexy again

Proposed warning labels for cigarettes go for graphic shock value, but they could backfire.

Flu Fighters

The “Theory of Trying” gives us insight into persuasion attempts to get people to take seasonal flu vaccination seriously.

Has it become unethical to market tanning?

The evidence is becoming undeniable – tanning can kill you. How can we justify continuing to market the service?

(The perception of) H1N1 is out of control

A modest proposal for adult supervision of the H1N1 media frenzy.

Pfizer fine: $2.3 billion. Result: Who cares?

A blockbuster fine leveled by the Justice Department is unlikely to hurt Pfizer’s blockbuster prescription drug business.

“Oh my god, it’s a giant walking urine cup.”

HealthPartners’ newest oddball mascots certainly have shock value, but can they be effective?

Looking behind those bright green eyes

1. FDA-approved eyelash enhancer Latisse may not seem like a big healthcare deal, but its ads are a great way to show how persuasive strategy works in big pharma advertising.
2. The ad uses classic techniques (primacy/recency, visual supremacy, and disassociation) to sell its message.
3. It uses those same techniques to downplay potential side effects. It may not be a big deal with Latisse, but other drugs are not so benign.

Watching Weight Watchers

1. Conventional wisdom tells us the down economy should negatively impact Weight Watchers International and businesses in its category.
2. However, Weight Watchers has positioned itself ideally in the public mind and within the medical community.
3. When the times comes (sooner than we think) for sliding-scale, health-impact pricing, Weight Watchers will benefit from insurance plans who adjust premiums based on health metrics.

“Swine” flu probably won’t hurt the pork industry

1. The pork industry feels the use of the word “swine” flu to describe this latest outbreak will hurt consumption.
2. In addition to short-term market data, they cite other examples of virus-induced hysteria.
3. All that said, long-term data for public health shocks in the poultry, tomato, and spinach markets (and even the last swine flu in 1976) show little impact.

Ever heard of fibromyalgia?

Key Points:
1. Fibromyalgia is an example of drug company marketing at its best: Convincing the medical establishment to pay attention to real suffering.
2. Fibromyalgia is also an example of drug company marketing at its worst: Using emotional tactics to boost prescriptions.
3. Regardless of the final judgment, we cannot ignore the power of giving a vague set of symptoms a legitimate name.


Jason Voiovich
director_corporate marketing, Logic PD
Black Belt
Caffeine Addict

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