06 August 2006

Parallel lives….

“Use sun cream all year round to stop skin damage,” urges a headline in this weekend's Sunday Times.

The article says that “sunscreen should be used all year round, even in cloudy weather, to protect against long-term damage that can cause cancer.” It goes on to suggest that people “should apply factor 15 sunscreen every morning, even if they are going to spend most of the day indoors.” A healthcare PR, somewhere, is very happy.

The report came from the British Skin Foundation which exists “solely for the purpose of supporting research into skin disease.” Thank goodness, we thought it was a sunscreen laundering front.

Of course ‘supporting research’ doesn’t come cheap, and so thankfully the British Skin Foundation has what it calls 11 corporate partners. However, if you give it your best Columbo, you’ll notice it’s actually 11 product brands. Turn and pause dramatically just before you walk out of the door, and you’ll see that four of the products belong to Garnier. Look confused, adjust your rain jacket, cock-your-head-to-one-side-and-squint-a-little, and you’ll see that one of them is Garnier Ambre Solaire suncream. Hoorah.

The Garnier Ambre Solaire website, incidentally, is as pleased as punch with its endorsement from the British Skin Foundation (and the eagle-eyed will have noticed that the British Skin Foundation gets featured in Garnier’s TV advertising too).

Ah well, all’s fair in love and suncream sales (even your skin, presumably). It’s standard third party endorsement, nothing more.

Still, with all this sunscreen to buy so that we don’t drop dead from skin cancer within the next 31 seconds, we’re off to sell a project to a client based on the need for some very expensive compliance software. And if those damned CIOs don’t believe what our software vendor has to say, they’ll sure as hell believe the relevant hired hand at Laboratoires Gartner in Egham.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if Murdoch owns shares in any of those skincare businesses...?

Anonymous said...

Predicting and prophesising the fall of humanity and the next big health scare is sure a profitable business.

This summer it has been skin cancer, in the winter/spring it was bird flu. The list is really endless.

Does any one still remember the Ebola scare?

....the world's leading.... said...

Aye...it's a sick, sick world. For real.

Though where things like Ebola and SARS were panic reactions to health scares, the skin cancer thing seems a bit more cynical...there are some companies who are clearly looking to gain commercially from this report.

It's not like GlaxoSmithKline launched 'Day and Night Ebola Capsules' or Beechams a 'Maximum Strength Lemon-flavoured SARS remedy'...not that they didn't think about it, I bet.

Anonymous said...

its a flippin' conspiracy......no really...it is.

figgis said...

Hmm mr anon, got to agree with Ms TWL here - SARS, Ebola, Bird Flu may not have decimated the planet yet but they sure have killed a few people between them. But the issue here is more about how the media reacts to those diseases rather than about how companies cash in on health scares such as with the skin cancer example.

Anonymous said...

"But the issue here is more about how the media reacts to those diseases rather than about how companies cash in on health scares such as with the skin cancer example."

figgis - you are right. But, to pick up on what the first comment says - you only have to look at how News International reports Murdoch's own business affairs to wonder if there is a bit more to it than that.

When big business also owns a lot of the media internationally, it kinda makes you wonder. This is just my own conjecture, incidentally, I'm not claiming any of it as fact.... ;)

figgis said...

true true mr anon. as to the first point - the most interesting example of mr murdoch's influence is all the crappy myspace stories that are starting to appear in the sun... so transparent its ludicrous...

kenny said...

there's a nice little piece in this week's private eye (#1195 - 12 October 2007) about exactly this story