Thrush on TV: an itch in primetime?

PETER YORK ON ADS; No 161: DIFLUCAN
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The Independent Culture
I'm Not 100 per cent sure what thrush actually is. But I do know that it's a ladies' condition and roughly where it occurs. It's not the sort of thing that historically one would've expected to see in mainstream TV advertising since it might provoke indelicate questions. But the same was said of sanitary protection not so long ago and now young women talking endlessly about comfort and confidence and absorbency demonstrations involving blue liquids are commonplace. It's settled into a formula approach that leaves children and brutish men bored rather than over-stimulated.

Certainly the strategy behind the Diflucan commercial seems to be to "out" and normalise thrush and its remedy. The theme is that thrush is no problem and certainly no embarrassment for smart women who take control of their lives. So we see a smart thirtysomething business lady entering a smart restaurant of the Nineties mega post-Quag's variety to smart music of the new easy-listening kind. It's setting you up for a smart product. As the head-waiter - cool, young, suited - leads her to her ladies-who-lunch table on the mezzanine with its post-modern Regency balustrade, lines of text flow across the bottom of the screen Network 7-style as the smart diners look at Ms Power-Dressed striding through them: "Now there's a fast way ... to treat vaginal thrush ... here's a public demonstration."

Immediately on sitting down Ms Account Director fearlessly brings out her Diflucan blue packet and - "only one capsule" - gulps it down with a swift little gesture that says "so what / let's get on".

It's very ambitious by the standards of pharmaceutical adverts - usually ultra formulaic - and it confirms that the bathroom door is open for good. Next we can expect the range of men's appliances and remedies formerly sheltered in "surgical stores".

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