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Sneaky Advertising Makes Me Mad

So here's a message to Ortho:
Stay away from my daughter. If you want to market a beauty product, do so.
If you want to sell a hormone to ME, go ahead and try it. But don't combine the two and target my kid behind my back.

Okay, I'm reeeeeeeeally mad now. Last night I'm thumbing through People magazine and what should I see? A two-page, glorious advertisement for the birth control pill Ortho Tri-Cyclen, with the headline: "Announcing a birth control pill that's also a BEAUTY aid." (The word "beauty" is highlighted in the ad.)

Okay, I'm steamed. I'm furious about this. Shown is a lovely, wide-eyed girl—not a woman—a GIRL. And this ad is *targeting* GIRLS. Our daughters, in other words.

Here's the pitch:
"Only Ortho Tri-Cyclen: The first pill proven to control blemishes as well as prevent pregnancy." GOOD GRIEF! How can they stoop so low? I've got a teenager, and I know damn good and well that they'll do *anything* to be pretty—starve themselves, mutilate themselves, whatever it takes. Further stated: "Which can mean Ortho Tri-Cyclen can be a good choice for women 15 or over..." Excuse me..."WOMEN" 15 OR OVER?? *What* women would these be? The ones who are not yet capable of choosing which classes to take, much less pharmaceuticals? The ones who pick up People magazine to drool over Brad Pitt? The ones who worry more about a pimple than world peace? The ones who don't know that advertisers could sell hooves to a canary???

Oh, but they go on... They do mention that their pill is a good contraceptive too. Also something that 15-year-olds need to consider, right? Gee—my face will be pretty, the boys will want to have sex with me, and the bonus is—I can't get pregnant! (Have I mentioned that this ad infuriates me?)

But wait—there are MORE advantages to taking this pill, so tell your moms, kiddies, that Ortho Tri-Cyclen can also do the following: "lowers the level of a hormone that is likely to cause acne [oh, please mom, can I have it? Please, please, please???] ...works with your body to reduce cramps, increase regularity, and lighten your flow. There is evidence that they might actually provide women with protection against developing ovarian cancer and cancer of the lining of the uterus" [kids don't understand the word "endometrium."]. "In addition, the Pill may decrease the incidence of acute pelvic inflammatory disease—a condition which, if left untreated, can cause infertility."

Ohhhh, that last one is a LOW blow, even by advertising standards. Now you've got girls frightened into thinking that they'll be infertile if they do NOT take this pill. And I'd like an in-depth explanation of just *how* this drug prevents the bacteria that causes PID. Very interesting....never heard of that before. Maybe they should market it as an antibiotic. But never mind—such an explanation would be too technical for children.

This is bottom-line, sneaky advertising at its worst, and Ortho Pharmaceuticals is going to hear from me before the day is out. And a funny thing—nowhere in this "beauty" ad is the warning that most women gain between 10-15 pounds on the birth control pill. But I guess they wouldn't want the pretty teens to know *that*, would they? (And when I say "in this ad" I mean the front part—on the back they dutifully list the many hazards of taking BC pills, in molecule-sized type.)

My daughter started her period last year, and I take my job as mentor very seriously. I'm teaching her about the value of good foods, lots of water, we're doing exercises together and talking a lot. But she is a menstruating CHILD, and companies like Ortho and their misleading ads just make my job more difficult. Her body is still forming, and I would rather cut off my hands than let her introduce a pharmaceutical hormone into her sweetly budding, unadulterated reproductive system.

So here's a message to Ortho:
Stay away from my daughter. If you want to market a beauty product, do so.

If you want to sell a hormone to ME, go ahead and try it. But don't combine the two and target my kid behind my back.

Whew--I feel better now.

Gayle H.
Austin, TX

 

 

 

 

 

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Updated  05/15/2010