Atomic Monkey, a satirical political blog based in Hawaii, was awarded the lucrative government contract to develop new, dramatic health warnings for consumer products.
“We’ve tried a lot of different strategies to warn people about dangerous products, but they don’t seem to listen.” lamented Congressman Porknobbler. “They just laughed at pictures of dying cancer victims on the cigarette packs, so we’ve decided to try savage mockery…and Atomic Monkey was clearly the most sarcastic of the agencies we reviewed.”
Robert Wiesel, creative director for Atomic Monkey, gave a brief overview of the agency’s philosophy.
“Initially, we would like to make it “cool’ to defy our warnings. They are so lame that not only will they be ignored, younger people will make a point of collecting the series just so they can show them to their friends and mock them. We will accelerate the process by making the warnings self-mocking. But, after a few months they will move on to some other fad and forget about these products altogether. And, if that doesn’t work we’ll try something else.”
The Congressman conceded that it would be easier to regulate and even ban products that can actually kill you, but advocating for that could seriously jeopardize the tax base and would be political suicide. According to Porknobbler, “we don’t mind the taxpayers indulging in self-destructive behavior, but we have a responsibility to the country to make sure they live and pay taxes until they’re 65.”
Porknobbler offered as an example of his frustration the disclaimer attached to an Abilify television commercial, which takes up half the ad. The commercial features an animated woman being stalked by a black blob (her depression), but her regular anti-depressants aren’t doing the job anymore, so she augments her supply of “mother’s little helpers” with Abilify, which makes things “better.” Or, does it?
Actual television commercial copy: “Abilify is not for everyone. Call your doctor if your depression worstens, or if you have unusual changes in behavior, or thoughts of suicide. Anti-depressants can increase these in children and teens and young adults. Elderly dementia patients taking Abilify have an increased risk of death or stroke. Call your doctor is you have high fevor, stiff muscles and confusion to address a possible life-threatening condition, or if you have uncontrollable muscle movements as these could become permanent. High blood sugar has been reported with Abilify, and medicines like it. In some cases extreme high blood sugar can lead to coma or death. Other risks include decreases in white blood cells, which can be serious, dizzyness upon standing, seizures, trouble swallowing, and impaired judgment or motor skills.”
“You’d think with a warning like that nobody would touch the stuff,” said Congressman Porknobbler “but, they eat em up…half the dam U.S. Congress is on it.”