November 13th, 2001


I am so tired of this herpes commercial

There are only about 3 TV shows I watch all the time; Survivor (yeah, I know, shut up), the Daily Show (featuring my future boyfriend, Jon Stewart), and Homicide: life on the street reruns on Court TV. Since Homicide airs at 1am EST, I usually tape it and watch it later.

It's no secret that late night TV commercials seem to be profiling a special kind of viewer; lots of ads for mattresses, telephone psychics, weight-loss products, etc. Apparently, if you are awake at 1am, you are fat, lovelorn and an insomniac. But now I'm noticing another truism: If you're a night owl, you also have herpes.

There's this commercial for a herpes medication that seems to be on -every time- I watch Homicide, and I think I've seen it multiple times during prime time as well. It suggests that people who have herpes should try this new medication, which is made by the same company as the old medication, but apparently you take it less often. This is all well and good, and I suppose people who take the old medication would be happy to know about it, but good God! Does it have to be on every single night? If I don't have herpes on Monday night, how likely am I to have acquired it by Wednesday? This isn't exactly the kind of product you can over-hype to increase sales; you either need it, or you don't. There is no middle ground/occasional market for this product.

Hyping Prozac through TV commercials makes sense, because you may not know if you're really clinically depressed or not: "Hmm, I'm sleeping all the time and have self-defeating thoughts, but on the other hand, I did just get laid-off and my sister died. Maybe I should get on Prozac anyway." Somehow I doubt this works for herpes; "Well, I have no lesions on my genitals, or flu-like symptoms, or weird things happening when I pee, but I'd REALLY like me some Valtrex."

The other thing that disturbs me: If I've seen this ad on more than one show, or more than one network, what does this say about me? Marketers can profile "the Pokemon demographic" or "the SUV demographic"; have I unwittingly moved into "the Herpes demographic"? If so, that at least implies new sex partners in my future. Either that or toilets at the bus station.

Oh, and in keeping with the LJ interest surfing thing:
16 users list "herpes" as an interest.
0 users list "Valtrex" as an interest.
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