Make the Call That May Make the Difference

Make The Call That May Make The Difference.

Using slow motion and the faces of smiling calm children, McNeil Consumer Pharmaceuticals presents a vague glimmer of hope for the parents of children with ADHD. No doubt some of these children need help and one would only call or get information from the website if their child has ADHD. Yet this commercial has a kind of creepiness that borders on an image of mind control. The increase of pharmaceutical companies advertisements seems to be either the chicken or the egg of a bigger American problem. The medicalization of everyday life. The children are shown with their parents being the type of children seen on television in generic “childhood” situations such as playing with other children, working with their parents, doing their homework, eating breakfast. This is all fantastic if only there weren’t graphics over the montage saying “12 hour dose”; “Once daily medication”; “Consistent symptom control”. The parents calm pleased voices tell of the process the children are making from their medication. In the shot showing the success story video and ADHD advances brochure (with questions for your doctor) this is when it’s apparent what’s being sold. What’s being sold is the idea that your child can be like these kids. Not to negate the real problems some children have, but a national ad campaign shown during daytime TV to mothers watching their soap operas seems a little sinister. Yes, this might get the information to a mother who has a child with a real problem, but what about the mother who simply doesn’t know how to handle her child. What about the loud rambunctious children who are natural explorers and trouble makers? Certain kinds of these ADHD medications have been safely and widely used for over 40 years. Does this explain the increase of the overall pharmaceutical campaigns for treatment of anxiety disorders. There’s no shame in getting help for problems, yet a commercial showing television children leading television lives seems to be a poor (and dangerous) method for getting help for those who really might need it as opposed to simply those who can get it.

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