The Forbidden Fruit: How Do Companies Sell Hazardous Products?

Questionably the best sleep ever with a cold…

In Medication on March 25, 2011 at 12:47

Does NyQuil make your sleep like a dog or sick like a dog?
(image © Hellmann’s)


Sleeping problems are among the most common problems of Americans in this day and age. NyQuil is looking to solve that by taking away any complaints from sniffling, sneezing, couching, aching and fever. Use it and sleep like a dog, or that’s at least what NyQuil’s latest commercial says.

The commercial features two main actors, a man and a dog; one of the most common images in the Western world. Playing on this recognizable image a problem is introduced in a very light-hearted manner. This only helps to create an atmosphere of innocence, which is not necessarily the right atmosphere if you’re selling medicine which could potentially harm people.

A quick search on the Internet learns us that NyQuil can cause serious side effects. The active ingredients in NyQuil have been associated with abuse, liver damage and psychotic episodes, especially in combination with alcohol. In 2008 total sales of acetaminophen drugs reached $2.6 billion last year, with 80 percent of the market comprised of over-the-counter products. NyQuil is one of these so-called acetaminophen drugs.

The commercial actually doesn’t really mention any dangers, if anything, it takes a funny approach to the problem of colds and sleep loss. The use of a seamlessly harmless dog only enforces this image. The joke of the man copying the dog’s behaviour is a funny twist and is a definite climax to the commercial. It really nails the atmosphere NyQuil wants to convey with the viewer. The notion that NyQuil is a product anyone could use without any risks.

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  1. interesting post!

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