Blame Canada

December 1st, 2005 · 3 Comments
by Booksquare

We get the idea of a high-concept thriller. Mostly. For example, there is potential in a plotline like this one:

But “third-party strategy,” as it’s known in the advertising world, has recently had its perils for PhRMA, the major lobbying group that represents drug manufacturers. The plan was to commission a fictional thriller to hype the dangers of buying prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.

C’mon people — it’s Canada, which has to be, like, the least threatening country in the known universe. People like Canada and Canadians. If you’re going to scare people, don’t use Canada (or its pharmacies) as a villain. What’s next — killer tabbies?

You know how this story ends, but we cannot resist sharing it anyway:

Both sides say the deal began to fall apart last July, after Barondess rejected the manuscript on the grounds that it was badly written. Spivak counters that this was Volpe’s fault: He claims she insisted that the manuscript include long polemics about drug policy and wanted to dumb the book down to appeal to women, who buy the majority of Canadian drugs.

As with all bad ideas, money changed hands. More money than you’d expect, though probably less than the industry normally pays for public relations ventures. It’s the part where someone enthusiastically supported this plan that makes us wonder.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs

3 responses so far ↓

  • David Thayer // Dec 1, 2005 at 5:25 pm

    I read the source article. On the Canadian side of the Niagara river is a statue of General Brock, the man who defeated American invaders many years ago. The inscription on the statue reads,”low cost drugs 4ever.”

  • Booksquare // Dec 1, 2005 at 9:43 pm

    Ah, see, who knew that Canada came close to the Niagra River? I looked the inscription up on Internet B and found that the original inscription, obscured in the Storm of ’16, read: “Low Cost Drugs 4 Fever”. A few years later, we all know what happened.

  • David Thayer // Dec 2, 2005 at 11:49 am

    Quel contretemps! I remember watching “Saturday Night Ever” and wondering what it meant.