I am just cringing here, Folks. CRINGING.
In what I consider to be a prime example of patient exploitation, J&J LifeScan stepped over the line late last week when it sent out a so-called "Public Service Announcement" (PSA) pitch to bloggers about its OneTouch UltraMini "Splash of Color" campaign. The email alert I received, which I assume was also blasted out to a whole host of diabetes and health bloggers, insists that "choice of color may help diabetics feel less clinical and more personal about their diabetes, which will encourage them to test regularly" -- which they claim translates into "an important health message to diabetics."
Therefore LifeScan's promotional agency WestGlen Communications implores, "We are hoping you can place the banner and Public Service Announcement pro bono" -- meaning that we bloggers should be willing to post on our sites for free a variety of promotional banners in pre-packaged sizes (or the agency can resize it to fit your blog) all for the greater good of the diabetes community, of course.
Check out THIS VIDEO that LifeScan's agency is pushing, and prepare to CRINGE.
What's wrong with this so-called "PSA"? Oy, where should I start?
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First off, the video doesn't even pretend to be a public service announcement, defined as "a non-commercial advertisement, ostensibly broadcast for the public good." Instead, it is a blatant (and very colorful) product campaign! "OneTouch is giving away 10,000 color monitors as part of this public awareness initiative." You can also enter the UltraMini Meter Sweepstakes for a chance to win an iPod Nano.
For God's sake, iPods come in exciting colors, too, but at least Apple's not pretending to bolster public health.
How about that color consultant, who very nearly makes the Amway lady in Roger & Me (who presumably wasn't paid for her services) look insightful? "People have a series of complex reactions about color..., " the LifeScan-hired color gal says. "People with diabetes will benefit ... because it brings in an element of personal choice... colors pack in positive symbolism." Hey, green is life-sustaining, the color of vegetation, and don't forget that pink is happy!
Hmm, personal choice in diabetes products could be beneficial, ay? At least that I agree with.
I just wanted to note how disappointed I am in LifeScan here, not least because I do think the UltraMini is a useful and well-designed product, which also comes in attractive colors. Therefore I had hoped LifeScan would become an advertiser here in the not-too-distant future. Ouch.