Ed Silverman — over at Pharmalot.com — has saved me the trouble of preparing something of my own on this marketing-fiasco-in-the-making.
As always, his piece is balanced and touches all the appropriate issues. Do also take his poll, there. Here’s a bit — do go read it all:
. . . .By using the animated characters from ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,’ they claim that children may confuse the medicine with candy and food that are also part of a promotional campaign undertaken by the Dreamworks film studio. These products include fruit-flavored gummy snacks, Airhead candy, Blue Bunny ice cream bars, McDonald’s Happy Meals and Lance sandwich crackers. The advocacy groups worry the combined campaigns may induce children to “over-consume” Claritin.
In arguing their case, the groups maintain the Merck effort violates an FTC precedent that was set in 1977 regarding marketing to children . . . . At the time, the agency ruled that Spiderman could not be used in television and print ads to market vitamins directly to children and, therefore, this decision should be used as the basis for preventing Merck from using Madagascar characters to sell its over-the-counter allergy medicine. . . .
Ther are also paid blog-shillers (just three examples, of hundreds — here, here and here) promoting the link between Claritin, and Madagascar 3 — essentially being “bought” for the low, low price of free movie tickets. Ugh.
One would have hoped that they thought more of their own children.