James P. Othmer Hates Your Pharma Ads

By Matt Van Hoven 

The New York Times let former creative director/current author James P. Othmer write a little rant about how much he loathes pharmaceutical ads like the one for the fake sounding disease, Restless Leg Syndrome. Why is he so irked? Because the potential side-effects (“gambling, sexual or other urges”) are worse than jittery legs.

“If I had a dime for every time I heard the words “ask your doctor” or saw a crude clip of phallic imagery during a commercial break from the evening news, or was forced to contemplate a stomach-turning side effect, I’d be able to afford my own health care.”


Well Jim, you don’t, because that cliché makes no sense. You could just say, “like most of you, I’ve seen way too many ads for drugs that cause more problems than they solve, and probably add to the overall cost of health care, which sucks for everyone (except the rich).”

I shouldn’t be so hard on James. He was kind enough to come on to our podcast and lend conversation. Oh, and he has a point &#151 ads for drugs like RLS are vague and misleading. Consider: only about 3% of adults suffer from this disorder &#151 do we need ads for drugs claiming to “heal” it? Read the rest of his thoughts on the pharma issue, here.

More: “AdLand: Former Y&R ECD James Othmer’s Take on Industry Absurdity