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Which was worse: “Like a Girl” Super Bowl ad in 2015 or constipation Super Bowl ad in 2016?

February 9, 2016

From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Please, not while I’m eating

The one thing to be said for the ads for Super Bowl 50 was that there was no preachy-feminist “Like a Girl” spot as was the case with last year’s Super Bowl. I guess the ad-makers decided that either there wasn’t much of a market for monthly pads among the Super Bowl’s overhwelmingly male viewers–or that trying to police other people’s language via I Am Woman cutesiness is kind of like throwing like a girl.

Instead this year there was…gross. And gross says something pretty… gross about our culture. As Business Insider reported:

“It was somewhat surprising — among the sodas, and cars, and big name consumer goods brands — to see an ad about constipation airing during the Super Bowl this year. And then to see another referencing diarrhea!

“But, yes, it did actually happen.

“The first ad (above) promoted a prescription product to help tackle opioid-induced constipation (OIC). It was courtesy of Astra Zeneca….

“Then came an ad for Valeant’s diarrhea relief Xifazan product, starring its brand mascot: A smiley pink intestine!…

“Then, not in the same body area but still in the general gross medical ad department came Jublia in the fourth quarter, returning to the Super Bowl with an ad promoting its toe fungus cream. Lovely!”

Now, first of all, dear ad-makers, most people are eating while watching the Super Bowl. Those famous “Super Bowl snacks”. And you don’t want to hear about intestinal malfunctions when you’re reaching for that second slice of pizza. You really don’t.

Second, here’s some connect-the-dots moralizing. Constipation is a nearly inevitable side effect of taking anything that’s either opium-derived (such as heroin) or opium-like, such as that range of prescription painkillers whose brand-names we all know well: OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin. If you have OIC, you have opiods in your system–and nearly all the time, it’s vice versa.

Opioids are supposed to be prescribed for the relief of severe pain. But as WebMD warns, “[T]here is a risk of addiction when you take them for more than a few days.”


I’m not going to point any fingers of blame here, and there are undoubtedly plenty of sufferers from chronic pain who are willing to put up with addiction as the price for relief (or maybe they’re too addicted to be able to stop). But 207 million painkiller prescriptions is a lot of painkiller for a country with a population of 300 million. It’s not surprising that Bill Maher promptly tweeted after the OIC ad: “Was that really an ad for junkies who can’t sh–? America, I luv ya but I just can’t keep up.”

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

From → Uncategorized

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