Using fear as a marketing tool

I have been using Life Bouy soap all my life. Few days ago I saw the company’s “public service message” on how to avoid swine flu. This was a half page ad on the front page of the Daily Jang, Lahore edition. Here are the recommendations:

Wash your hands every time you:

  1. sneeze.
  2. cook.
  3. touch anything (door nob, furniture, computers etc.)
  4. shake hand.

Even as a loyal consumer, I was disgusted. This company is trying its best to induce fear into us to make us all psychotic. For what? Just to sell more soap bars.

My immediate thought was what about the transfer of virus through air when you or someone sneezes? No, you can’t stop the virus spreading. You have to make your immune system strong.

You do need to wash hands but not as madly as this ad asks you. And not with soap every time.

This news item (swine flu scare was a “false pandemic”) confirms what I and many people were thinking:

A LEADING health expert says the swine flu scare was a “false pandemic” led by drugs companies that stood to make billions from vaccines. Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, claims major firms organised a “campaign of panic” to put pressure on the World Health Organisation to declare a pandemic. He believes it is “one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century” — and has called for an inquiry.

Here is my recipe to avoid swine flu (or any other flu):

  1. Exercise daily and possibly twice a day.
  2. Eat simple and healthy food (vegetables, fruit, very little meat) and avoid processed food.
  3. Avoid medicines whenever possible. Let your immune system get stronger.
  4. Move carefully in extreme weather.
  5. And of course keep your environment clean but you don’t need to wash your hands after every 10 minutes.

… because no company is going to promote this public service message with big advertisements in national newspapers.

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