Dombrowski: A look at a Celebrex Ad

For today’s reading we had a very short 5 page reading about the unethical way in which a drug company was advertising one of its’ drugs. The company Pfizer Pharmaceuticals created an ad for one of its’ drugs called Celebrex back in 2005. This ad caused some controversy and ended up getting studied by Dombrowski to determine how it had unethically showed information, especially information having to do with critical results of certain tests on the drug and possible side-effects. Dombrowski talked about a few things that the Celebrex ad did that were unethical. The first thing that they did involved the overall tone of the ad. In the ad there were people going about their day and doing things pain-free and the color being used in the ad was a calming blue color which is used to set the audience’s mind at ease. The were setting the ad up to put the viewer at ease even though there were some pretty serious side-effects that could occur. The next issue that Dombrowski had with the ad was that the disclaimer text that all drug ads are required to have, the text that explains certain side-effects and other issues or problems that most drug ads have very small at the bottom of the screen, the Celebrex ad decided to make the outlines of the people and animals in the ad made out of the text. This was an issue because it made the text so small and inconsequential that it was basically not a part of the ad anymore. The only time the text was readable was when the ad pulled specific words or phrases out to reinforce the narration and make the drug seem more safe than it really was. The last issue Dombrowski noted was that information about some of the problematic trials that Celebrex had had and information about a possible linked to increased risk of heart attack were not present in the ad at all, which is totally unethical.

I totally agree with Dombrowski in this article. I believe that what the Pfizer Pharmaceutical company did with its’ Celebrex ad was completely manipulative and unethical and I am glad that the FDA had issues with it back in 2005. We have been learning that the audience should come first in the world of motion graphics, because knowing your audience and catering to them is the best way to make your advertising or message effective. It is pretty apparent that this company didn’t have much respect for their customers and just wanted to make money from this drug.

Below is another example of unethical advertising. This is an ad for cigarettes in which the ad portrays a “dentist” recommending the cigarettes over other cigarettes. This is unethical because this isn’t a real dentist and there is no data that shows that this cigarette is better for your teeth than any other cigarette, and even if there was it means nothing coming from a fake dentist.


My question is this: do you think that even when the text at the bottom of a drug ad that that makes it ethical to not even mention the information in the narration?


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