Aspirin Saved My Life

January 26th, 2009

Television commercials can be downright deceptive and literally bad for your health. Enormous amounts of money are spent on ad campaigns with one purpose in mind – getting you to spend money. Serious effort is put forth to make these ads connect with you emotionally, and in many cases, the connection is harming you.

I rarely watch television, but as a big tennis fan, I’ve been watching the Australian Open. The deceptive marketing power behind the commercials I’ve been seeing is sickening. In just the past week, I’ve seen repeats of three misleading drug commercials for the same product – Bayer Aspirin.

Grandma Saves Christmas

It was two days before Christmas and grandma was having chest pain. The last thing she wanted was to ruin the holiday by having a heart attack. She dug into her pocket book for a Bayer Aspirin to chew on, and according to her doctor, it saved her life. It also saved Christmas and her chance to see her grandchildren grow up. And just in case you didn’t get the message, the commercial ends by telling you to “expect miracles.”

It’s great that she avoided a heart attack, but what’s Bayer trying to tell us? That we don’t have to worry about the leading cause of death as long as we carry a bottle of Aspirin around with us?

Heart Attacks Aren’t Caused by Aspirin Deficiency

Most people know that heart attacks are caused by the blockages and clots that occur in unhealthy arteries. The blood thinning action of Aspirin helps blood to flow more easily through these restricted arteries which is how it can potentially prevent a heart attack.

What people don’t realize is that unhealthy arteries are a symptom of poor health that usually develops through an unhealthy lifestyle. Aspirin is only a temporary solution that does absolutely nothing to resolve this. In reality, poor grandma probably won’t get to see her grandchildren grow up unless she changes the unhealthy habits that caused her artery problems. If she doesn’t, her arteries will likely get worse and cause a blockage that no amount of Aspirin can help.

Golfers Can Be Tough Guys Too

He’s at the seventh hole and is having chest pain. He feels very weak and decides that he better pack it in and head for the clubhouse. He’s so weak he can barely carry his clubs, but “golfers don’t leave their clubs behind.” Although this story isn’t quite as touching as grandma’s, anyone who loves golf and empathizes with struggle will feel an emotional pull. And of course, Bayer Aspirin is the hero once again by allowing this golfer to live another day.

Now he has another chance at living a long life and seeing his daughter get married. It makes for a great story, but how asinine would it be if he died right on the golf course because he didn’t want to leave his clubs behind? And similar to grandma, he may not see his daughter get married unless he makes some changes that go far beyond carrying a bottle of Aspirin in his golf bag.

Weekend Warriors Never Quit

The final piece of this Bayer Aspirin trilogy features a middle aged man that absolutely loves to play softball. It’s how he satisfies his strong appetite for athletic competition and adds fulfillment to his life, but unfortunately, his joint pain is holding him back. If you’re physically active, middle aged or older, and have joint pain, Bayer has you eating out of their hands once again.

For a third time, Bayer saves the day by masking this man’s pain and allowing him to live his dream. It’s a great story until you consider the possible causes of his pain. Perhaps he has muscle imbalances, instability, or even food sensitivities that are damaging his joints. Regardless of the cause, Aspirin will do absolutely nothing to correct it. By hiding the pain and continuing to play softball, he’ll likely make things worse, end up with pain too severe for Aspirin, and eventually need surgery.

Stop Chasing Symptoms!

Heart attacks aren’t caused by an Aspirin deficiency and neither is joint pain. But instead of addressing the root cause of these issues, each of the three Bayer commercials encourage you to only worry about the symptoms. The former is what makes you healthy, but chasing symptoms is what makes drug companies rich. That’s why the advertising is designed to force the symptom chasing mentality upon you.

Although I happened to single out Bayer, nearly all of the drug companies are guilty of this. I’m sure you’ve seen the cholesterol commercials for “when diet and exercise aren’t enough.” A healthy lifestyle is enough far more often then they’d like you to believe.

This type of advertising comes from other industries as well. How about McDonald’s being a major sponsor of the Olympics and subtly associating their toxic food with the dreamy accomplishment of being an Olympic athlete?

Chase Optimal Health Instead

If you want to live a long life full of health, happiness, and activity, chasing symptoms isn’t going to make it happen. Instead, you need to promote optimal health by addressing the malfunction that is causing them. Contrary to what Bayer would like you to believe, this isn’t accomplished by carrying a bottle of pills around with you.

For more information, you can read my previous articles about chasing symptoms and optimal health.

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