Recall that last summer Phil Mickelson was quoted in the press as saying he was treating his Psoriatic Arthritis with ENBREL. He was also quoted as saying: “I have no aches and pains. My back feels great. I feel stronger and more flexible than I’ve ever been” (see here).
At that time, Phil may or may not have been in talks with AMGEN/PFIZER to sign on as a celebrity spokesperson, but the simultaneous appearance of multiple news stories featuring Phil & ENBREL sure looked like an audition to show AMGEN/PFIZER what he could do for them.
During last week’s 2011 Masters Tournament, Phil finished tied for 27th place! Consequently, I didn’t see much of him on TV hitting a golf ball. I did, however, see a lot of him on TV ads for ENBREL. Now that he is featured in ENBREL TV ads, everyone knows he is a paid spokesperson. I have no problem with that, especially that now his commercial speech is regulated by the FDA and he can no longer make outlandish statements such as the one above.
Instead, the best he can now say is “I’m surprised how quickly my symptoms have been managed” (watch the commercial here). Also included is all the scary side effects of this drug, which Phil didn’t mention in his media interviews BEFORE becoming a paid spokesperson.
Obviously, ENBREL didn’t help his game in last week’s Masters.
BTW, I DID see Phil hitting golf balls on TV last week! But it was in an ENBREL ad! I noticed in that ad that Phil misses a chip shot! What’s up with that? Seems to add insult to injury.
Maybe if the ad showed him getting the ball in the hole from the rough, the FDA might have sent AMGEN/PFIZER a letter complaining that this could be interpreted as overstating the benefits of ENBREL.
Actually, Phil is shown making a putt in the beginning of the ad, when recalling how he felt like he was at the top of the world. The missed chip shot appropriately came during the fair balance portion of the ad. The part that everyone hates!
I don’t think the American public realizes the amount of thought that goes into these ads! If it wasn’t for the FDA, much less thought would be needed and we wouldn’t have people like me studying these ads and interpreting hidden meanings! (For the ultimate analysis hidden meanings in drug ads, see “Ruth Day and the Bees Repeat Performance at House DTC Hearing“.)
P.S. Here’s a little math/ROI problem thanks to a Twitter pal of mine. Assuming AMGEN/PFIZER spent $14 million to retain the endorsement of Phil Mickelson (not counting the cost of ad creative or media buys), how many ADDITIONAL doses of ENBREL will have to be sold to break even?