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An eyelash disorder

Posted Jul 31 2009 11:47am

eyelash Social media today alerted me to a great blog post on website boing boing critiquing a pharmaceuical ad.

The ad features actress Brooke Shields and advertises Latisse, an FDA (The US Food & Drug Administration) approved treatment to help the  disturbing condition in which - wait for it - sufferers must deal with having ‘not enough eyelashes’.

Hmm, perhaps we are we taking things a little too far when thin eyelashes are promoted as a medical condition that we’re encouraged to treat.

The boundaries between the cosmetic and health/medical industries are already fuzzy and this ad is another example of the ways in which these boundaries could be pushed and shaped in the years to come, as marketing and advertising tactics change.

The blog post counts 5 ways the ad seeks to misinform and manipulate the unwitting consumer and is well worth a read. Here’s a sample:

I’m so inured to pharmaceutical advertising, it took  my husband  to point this one out to me: this Latisse spot may appear to be just another by-the-numbers pharma spot, but in fact it’s the greatest  bad pharma  spot ever. Let’s count the ways:

1) ”The first and only approved FDA treatment for inadequate and not enough lashes,” “also known as hypotrichosis.”
Hypotrichosis has all the makings of a  fake illness: enough of a medical basis to sound real (it’s a condition of “no hair growth”) and yet vague enough to invite creative interpretation. In December, the same month the FDA approved Latisse, someone at Allergan–the company that makes the drug–repeatedly tried to alter the  Wikipedia entry of hypotrichosis to include eyelash hypotrichosis. Fortunately, Wikipedia moderators caught the changes and removed them ( here  and  here ).

You can view the blog post and the advertisement here.

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