Thursday, July 5, 2012

Stop: A Poem of Pharmaceutical Advertising


In an ad agency, Traffic is like
Department of the Shepherds,
or an escort service,
housemother, Charon,
ferrying files from account exec. to writer
to art director to the shop to editorial
back to writer, exec., client, hell.
When the agency is pharm., the ad
could be direct-to-physician, direct-to-
patient, include an ISI (Important Safety Information).
Pharm. pays better than general advertising but
each ad has me fighting early training:
this is a load of crap.
Remember, I wasn't allowed medicine as a kid.
When I was headed to Camp Yallani we needed
a doc. to sign off.
He spotted weeping sores on my hand.
What’s that? he asked Mom.
It’s nothing she said.
Don't blame advertisers for the public's foolishness.
David Ogilvy's Little Red Book
of selling-relevant aphorisms
had typos.
Mao's Little Red Book fell to
reform and reeducation through labor.
There's no poetry in consumerism or
Oh save us from our leaders.
All of us.
Sarah Sarai, Folly Magazine, February 2012

Note: I wasn't allowed to take biology in high school because of my Christian Science mother. Yet here I am, working in pharmaceutical advertising and not quite fitting in.  I do my quiet thing, my rent gets paid, my poems get written and sunlight and birds reveled in.

Before pharma, I was in general advertising, and yes, Ogilvy Advertising had its founder's Little Red Book, about the same size as Mao's.  Thanks to Folly Magazine for publishing the poem and allowing me to include it here. April 27, 2016 note: Folly is out-of-print.

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