...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Friday, June 16, 2006


Marketing and advertising people are mainly interested in the manufacture of impressions. When producing an ad, they concentrate on developing words, images and sounds that further the persuasive goal of the marketing campaign. Nothing in an ad is present by accident.

Cymbalta commercials not only promote the use of this prescription drug, but have successfully introduced a new way of diagnosing and treating depression -- based on the presence of physical pain in persons suffering from serious clinical depression. There is medical literature to support this diagnosis, but I believe this marketing position is based upon Cymbalta's having been approved by the FDA for the treatment of diabetic pain as well as depression. The Lilly marketers clearly have used this dual approval to create the impression that Cymbalta is superior to other anti-depressant drugs. "Depression hurts...."

Add a little research to your consideration of whether you ask your doctor about Cymbalta, or, if you're a physician, whether you prescribe this drug over an alternative treatment. Here's a starter link for you. This Google search raises several questions in its first page of results. It's also obvious that the association of pain with depression is not a universal diagnosis. Of course, the Cymbalta ads don't say it is. It's only one impression the commercials create.

The most powerful impression created by the Cymbalta TV campaign is musical. The Cymbalta music generates hundreds of Web searches every time the commercials air. Cymbalta is one of the most widely prescribed antidepressants. What impression do you have about the intelligence of doctors, and their patients?

Update: We may have the answer to the what's-that-music mystery. See here.

Update 08/11/06: Government scientists think they've found an "instant cure" for depression. Here's my post.

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