Setting the Record Straight and Getting Attention


During last week’s Grey’s Anatomy I found myself rewinding our DVR to replay the new Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals birth control commercial for Yaz.  

It wasn’t the claim that got my attention though, it was the correction that made me stop and listen. This new $20 million dollar campaign running during prime-time shows and on cable networks is their response to the Food and Drug Administration’s requirement to correct previous Yaz marketing messages.     

If you haven’t seen it yet the spot opens with an actress looking into the camera saying “You may have seen some Yaz commercials recently that were not clear. The F.D.A. wants us to correct a few points in those ads.”  I have to be honest, I didn’t see the first ads. In fact most birth control commercials don’t grab my attention. I had been on the same pill for 12 years (talk about brand loyalty) and never thought about switching because of new claims (my thought is often, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”).  But if I was stopping to watch this ad how many more women caught this message?

 When some companies get outed for not telling the whole truth (does anyone remember how quickly women were up in arms when we found out how Vitamin Water wasn’t as healthy as we were led to believe?) women can become vigilantes about setting the record straight. But given that Bayer has taken the time to come clean (even if they were forced to) I wonder if they will be forgiven easily by women.  In fact, I venture to guess that Yaz’s brand legend that it also helps with pimples and PMS will still hold strong, even if the ads don’t say it anymore.

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April 13, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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