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Playing With: Side Effects Include...
Basic Trope: Commercials for prescription drugs dance around the issue of side effects or how the drug actually works, to market their product better.
  • Straight:
    • 1) A commercial for Boneregen (a drug intended to help with erectile dysfunction) shows a middle-aged couple laughing together as they walk along a beach at sunset, and says "Remember the good times you used to have? Boneregen can help you to get your groove back".
    • 2) The Boneregen commercial with the middle-aged couple on the beach mentions what the drug is actually supposed to do, then rattles off a long list of unpleasant side effects.
    • 3) The Boneregen commercial shows a middle-aged couple in bed, with the woman lying there disappointed, and her husband looking depressed, then goes on to say, "Does this scene look familiar? Erectile dysfunction affects millions of men and their partners every day. You Are Not Alone, and there is hope. It then shows the husband on the computer, and tells the viewer to visit the website for more information about erectile dysfunction and its treatments, including a prescription treatment. (Which, one will find upon actually going to the site, is Boneregen.)
  • Exaggerated:
    • 1) The commercial paints Boneregen as a Fountain of Youth, implying that the drug will not only provide Bob an erection but will basically give him back the body and the sex drive he had at 18.
    • 2) The most common side effects listed are so unpleasant and imply that the drug is so dangerous that it's incomprehensible why any man would take the drug at all, even if he hasn't been able to perform sexually in decades and his wife has been carrying on with the poolboy the whole time.
    • 3) The ad signs off with a cheery slogan as if the above list never happened. Ask your doctor today!
  • Downplayed: ???
  • Justified:
    • 1) The company behind Boneregen wants to show that it can help with physical intimacy, but can't really discuss sex or sexuality on this TV network or before the Watershed. So to get the message across, they use G-Rated Sex instead and casually mention the drug in passing without actually saying what it does or is indicated for.
    • 2) Due to Truth in Advertising laws, the company has to give a warning about all the side effects this Boneregen drug may have, but they're banking that enough men will think that being able to perform sexually is worth it and ask their doctors to prescribe Boneregen.
    • 3) The company recognizes that it's not the first or only ED treatment out there, and wants to promote itself by arming patients with extra information and showing that it (along with, perhaps, healthy lifestyle changes that would result in better circulation in the first place) is the best treatment of all compared to Vitagra, Seeallthis, and Liftetra.
  • Inverted:
    • 1) Our Product Sucks
    • 2) See Version 1 under "Played Straight"
    • 3) The website contains information that prescription treatments are available, but doesn't say which ones.
  • Subverted:
    • 1) There's a montage of Alice and Bob meeting at Woodstock in The Sixties, dancing at a disco in The Seventies, getting married, moving into their first home together, etc. "Remember the good times you used to have? Well, Boneregen won't make all of that bliss happen again".
    • 2) The commercial mentions that there are side effects, and you may have to take certain health tests, but that your doctor will be the one to determine if Boneregen is right for you.
    • 3) The website is, indeed, just a site detailing what ED is, what causes it, and that treatment options are available, including prescription drugs.
  • Double Subverted:
    • 1) Then it shows Alice and Bob lying satisfied in bed and says, "But it can give you more bliss, at least in the bedroom. Ask your doctor about Boneregen today".
    • 2) The commercial mentions that Boneregen is not for everyone, and who it is not for (women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant, those with liver disease, diabetes, etc.), and that due to side effects, only a doctor can determine if it's right for you.
    • 3) A list of prescription drugs indicated for ED is on the website, and Boneregen happens to be one of them, even though it doesn't say which one is best.
  • Parodied:
    • 1) DADA Ad
    • 2) "This drug is so dangerous and has such unpleasant common side effects which include (blah blah blah)...but if having an erection is that important to you, who are we to stop you? Ask your doctor about Boneregen today".
    • 3) The website turns out to be...a porn site.
  • Zig Zagged: ???
  • Averted:
    • 1) The commercial doesn't skirt the issue of what the drug is or how it works.
    • 2) The commercial says that your doctor will have a complete list of all the side effects, and more information about Boneregen.
  • Enforced: Truth in advertising laws.
  • Lampshaded:
    • 1) "Remember the good times you used to have together? Ask your doctor about Boneregen, to help you get your groove back. Isn't she worth it?"
    • 2) Side Effects Include...
    • 3) "Visit our website, helpstoped.org today".
  • Invoked: Someone selling an "herbal supplement" made entirely of ingredients considered Generally Recognized As Safe says "WE don't have to put a laundry list of side effects in our ads!" (not mentioning that they're selling overpriced Smarties not even considered a "drug" by the FDA.)
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: ???
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed:
    • 1) The commercial implies that taking this pill is a magical solution to all of Alice and Bob's marital problems...or for that matter, the circulatory health problems or midlife stress that caused Bob's ED in the first place. The drug might help with the physical intimacy problems, but does nothing for other issues, and only masks a symptom of Bob's health problems rather than treating the root cause.
    • 2) These commercials lead people to believe that they can be the ones to determine if Boneregen is right for them, rather than trusting their physicians to make decisions regarding what drugs (if any) to prescribe. This leads to doctors trying to warn patients that Boneregen has dangerous side effects and that there may be better drugs available or other non-drug solutions, and Know-Nothing Know-It-All patients demanding Boneregen and bullying their doctors into prescribing it.
    • 3) Has the same issues as #2 with regards to average joes thinking they know more than someone who actually has a medical degree.
  • Reconstructed:
    • 1) The commercial explains that it's not right for everyone, nor is it a magical solution to midlife stress or marital problems.
    • 2) The commercial warns that only a doctor can determine if Boneregen is right for you, and that requires screenings for certain health issues such as liver or kidney disease.
    • 3) See #2, Subverted, and Double Subverted
  • Played For Laughs: Actual ads of this type never are, but are frequently parodied by comedians.
  • Played For Drama: The painful aspect (Bob's embarrassment and guilt, Alice's disappointment, Alice's sadness that she can't help Bob, sexual dissatisfaction permeating the rest of the marriage and contributing to fights, etc.) of Bob's inability to perform is emphasized.

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