It all started innocently enough with a post by Ed Silverman over at Pharmalot. On Tuesday, Ed called our attention to a Consumer Reports video critique of the classic "Creepy, Crawly" Requip Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) TV ad (see "Debunking TV Ads: Installment #1").
Although Ed's post was published about 12 days after CR first uploaded the video on its web site, I think the post woke up the sleeping RLS Foundation, GSK, and their PR minions who set to work debunking the debunkers.
That same day (Nov. 13) I received a comment from an anonymous Pharma Marketing Blog reader notifying me that the RLS Foundation had that day sent an e-mail to its members urging a boycott of CR. The Foundation also wrote a letter to CR. I posted a note about this turn of events on my blog the next morning (see "RLS Foundation (aka GSK?) Calls for Boycott of Consumer Reports Over Ad Spoof").
Since then, I have received numerous comments to my post in defense of the RLS Foundation. All say the same thing: it's a real independent patient organization (as opposed to an "astroturf" organization founded by GSK and BI) and RLS is a "real" medical condition. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
I have reason to believe the initial comment and some of the others have been orchestrated by buzz marketers who have not flawlessly executed the "Posing as a Consumer on Social Networks" Web 2.0 trick (see "Web 2.0 Pharma Marketing Tricks for Dummies").
Last night (Nov. 14) Wired Science aired the video "The Business of Disease" on primetime TV (PBS). The main attraction was a demonstration of an RLS simulator "designed as an awareness piece for the physician community ... so they will have a better understanding of the science" (see "RLS Simulator: Weird Wired Science").
BTW, the Wired Science video is real journalism as opposed to the CR video. The WS piece includes interviews with physicians and marketing experts, including my friend Rich Myer over at World of DTC Marketing blog. Thanks to my recommendation to the Wired Science people, Rich was interviewed at his home where he had this to say about the role of marketing:
"Creating a need, that's what marketing is all about," said Myer. "If people don't know they have a need, create a need."Amen, brother!