Broadcast: 13 November 2012
Program: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Conglomerates: Comcast & General Electric
Advertiser: Centrum Silver
Owned By: Pfizer
Pitch: Doctors once studied our multi-vitamin. ’Nuff said.
Doctors and scientists conduct a lot of studies and trials to explore the effects that drugs, vitamins and all manner of other items have on human health. The whole point of all that careful work is, of course, to draw conclusions about what is and is not effective. Otherwise, why do them? With this new ad for Centrum Silver, Pfizer has managed to answer that very question.
We open with a generic Romney voter talking into the camera:
I pay income taxes you lazy moochers!
The commercial is mostly this unnamed actor speaking directly into the camera, and this is what he says:
Years ago my doctor told me to take a Centrum silver multi-vitamin everyday. I told him, sure. Can’t hurt, right? Then I heard this news about a multi-vitamin study, looking at long term health benefits for men over fifty. The one they used in that study? Centrum Silver.
Okay, so they used Centrum Silver in a study. Fine. The next logical step would seem to be telling us what they found out. Decrease in cancer risk? Significant reduction in ear and nose hair? Erections lasting more than four hours? Instead, he continues:
That’s what I take.
Okay, but what about the study? What did they find out about “long term health benefits for men over fifty”?
My doctor, he knows his stuff.
Good for him, but he’s not my doctor, and if I’m going to start taking this rather expensive pill every day, I’d sure like to know what that study found out. Maybe the narrator will tell us:
Centrum, the most recommend, most preferred, most studied. Centrum, your most complete.
Hmmm, nope. He also seems to think that it’s important that Centrum was the “most studied”, but nowhere do they mention, say or even hint at what this study discovered about Centrum Silver. They just want you to know that it was indeed studied:
“Most Studied”, is the like the Nobel Prize in “Attempted Chemistry”?
That would all be funny enough on its own, but there’s a further punchline here, and it shows just how completely absurd the subversion of truth in advertising laws has become:
The government never gave me any ‘gifts’, damn it!
The fine print reads:
A prior formulation of Centrum Silver was used in a long-term study evaluating the health benefits for me 50 and over.
In other words, the mysterious study they’re talking about didn’t even use the thing they’re advertising, but because they mentioned it, they have to make note of that discrepancy even though they aren’t telling us which study it was or what any of the conclusions were. Feh.