Male Enhancement: Based on a True Story
Advertisement and Racial, Sexual, Age Stereotypes
Pharmaceutical commercials narrate a bodily fiction that is presented to the audience as “based on a true story.” This “true story” is derived from the infallible credibility that the discourse of science holds in this era. Pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer wield this story of the infallibility of science as a tool to increase the sales of their products. This would seem counter-intuitive, had we not grown up immersed in pharmaceutical advertising, and not become desensitized to it. But if one stares hard enough one can see past this diffraction. Why should the medical model require advertisement? If a person has an issue with health they see their doctor who presents them with solutions which the person can opt for or against. The advertisements fit into the picture in a peculiar way. In one sense, they are typical of all advertisement: they function as a persuader to the potential customer that the product is worth buying. But they also function on another level; a level that is arguably deeper and more intimate. The pharmaceutical advertisements advertise a sickness. They create a narrative that the target demographic can relate to, and they turn that narrative into one of disease. In doing so, people who would not have been inclined to see the doctor before, become so inclined. And when they arrive at the doctor’s office, they are primed with the name of a pharmaceutical that was paired with the disease narrative, a brand new cure, to their brand new problem. The pharmaceutical companies shape a bodily fiction in the minds of the viewers, one that raises their profits. Yet even if the viewer does not choose to ask their doctor for the product this conditioned bodily fiction might still be a part of their consciousness. This conditioning allows for the continuation of stereotypes of race and gender present in the commercials.