July 20, 2011

Who's Swaggerin' Now? Pharma Targets Yuppies With Costumed Fertility Rap

If you think about it, it'd be impossible not to wince-laugh at the very sight/idea of a sub/urban white couple in their 30s rapping about their frustrations with fertility. So the fact that they're wearing stupid bird & bee costumes while rapping about their fertility issues turns out to provide you with a permissible target for any uncomfortable outbursts or reactions the music video--produced by EMD Serono, Merck's fertility drug subsidiary--may elicit.

Because, man oh man, Neil & Karen, the subfertile plushies, make the Swagger Wagon people look like Mr. & Mrs Rico Suave.

Serono has launched the ridiculous campaign to try to get in front of reproduction-minded couples and to convince them to see a fertility specialist sooner, just the kind of doctor who might prescribe Serono's most popular ovulation stimulation treatment, Gonal f.

If you're in this situation, of course--and just as recently as last week, my awesome web hero Paul Ford wrote about his and his wife's fertility treatment experience--you may not really give a damn how Merck markets their products; you just want them to work.

But keeping this end game in mind makes watching the video even more fun and informative. Lyrics about how they're already 30, and how "it's been 11 months since [they] pulled out the goalie," and now they're "dodging strollers," seems designed to leverage every possible pang of anxiety anyone ever felt about getting pregnant.

But then we zero in, with the whole last verse by the bee dude, who has confirmed that, thanks to his avoidance of cycling, scrotal temperature spikes, and bikini underwear, his giant "stinger" is not the problem here. And so while Gonal f can be used in rare cases to treat low sperm production, it's real payoff comes as an ovarian follicle stimulating hormone. Ladies. Nonetheless, Neil's the one now who really thinks they need to bring someone else into the whole babymaking process.

Which is a kind of progress. Neil and Karen seem to have come a long way since last year, when they first debuted as part of a Serono guerrilla campaign that involved wandering around Baltimore, and handing out their URL to hapless passersby who asked what was up with the outfits.

In those web videos, the bird and the bee talked about their attempts to conceive with a tense, edgy grimness that sounds like it was ripped straight from the most gut-wrenching focus group imaginable. Big Pharma is definitely taking the emotionally scenic route as they drive you to Babytown.

BirdsBeesRealStory [facebook via publicist]
2010: EMD Serono's Guerrilla Program Addresses Birds and Bees [adweek]

1 Comment

These are probably the same people I saw in Boston within the past year. They gave me a rose that had their info tied to it.

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