Friday, 7 December 2007

Lem-Sip; spreading disease in your workplace

Dotted all over town these days are posters for Lem-Sip. For those of you who don't know what Lem-Sip is, congratulations on not living in a country where everyone has a cold from October to May. Lem-Sip is a sublime rip-off; synthetic lemon flavour and a gram of paracetamol which you can put in a mug, add boiling water to, and sip while you feel sorry for yourself for a) having a cold b) not having enough sense to take two paracetamol tablets and a mug of real hot lemon juice instead. It's important to keep in mind that Lem-Sip doesn't cure your cold; it just damps down the symptoms enough that you can do something other than feel sorry for yourself.

Anyhow, for a couple of years now, Lem-Sip has been advertising itself with campaigns which make out that Lem-Sip will turn you into a real man instead of a whinging crybaby who lies in bed when he's sick; up until now, the advertising hasn't been too clear on whether Lem Sip will turn even women into real men. Possibly someone noticed this, and their current round of marketing is non-gender specific. The posters say "When staying in bed isn't an option." The message, I think, is that Lem-Sip will give you the fortitude to be up and at 'em whatever way you feel, though in my view the only time staying in bed isn't an option is when the bed is actually on fire.

Anyhow, it's an annoying campaign, but I bring it up because its cunning goes further than making people who don't buy Lem-Sip feel like whimpering inadequates. The beauty is that if you buy the message, you drink the Kool-Aid and then you get up and walk amongst the healthy population. Spreading germs wherever you go, and infecting the people you meet with the very illness that had you thinking of staying in bed. And those people will now buy Lem-Sip so that they too can go to work and infect everyone around them, and so it goes, and so it goes.

Pure brilliance, as long as you don't think that wittingly spreading illness to improve sales might be immoral. Or maybe it's just that cold viruses are now so highly evolved that they've co-opted big pharma. You decide.