“I’m Not a Doctor, But...”


Drug commercials tend to rely on a slim playbook of gimmicks. Here are five of the most overused clichés


The steel-haired father figure talking to his son/friend, about his prostate/cholesterol while fly-fishing/playing catch at a lake/beach house is catnip to baby boomers.

Bad Jokes

Humor in ads for over-the-counter meds, including Gas-X’s flatulence remedy, often backfires. The talking “vagina hands” of Summer’s Eve douche products set gender relations back decades.

Animate It

See the throbbing red zone in the 1992 computer animation that is your heartburn/upset stomach/headache? Watch the blue pill/pink liquid/white spray go right there and melt the red monster immediately.


Just like Mom used to make! Airborne, which prominently touts its invention by a teacher as evidence of wholesomeness, has paid over $30 million in settlements over its claims to efficacy.

Dr. Stethoscope

Actor paces a lab while singing the praises of Advil. Hey, off-Broadway doesn’t pay the bills.


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