September 22, 2010

Marketing Unpleasant Things

Tonight at 10:09 p.m. CST, Fall officially begins, and I don't know about you, but I'm going to stay up past my bedtime to celebrate it right.

Fall brings with it many cherished traditions.  College football, apple picking, carving pumpkins ... And getting a flu shot.

Jan is a big flu shot person.  She never misses one, come hell or high water.  On the other hand, I shun them like my mother's broiled liver surprise.  In past years, there has always been an anxiety linked to flu shot season, primarily because there never seemed to be enough vaccine available.  People would drive to the ends of the earth and wait in lines for hours for the privilege of being stuck in the arm with a needle.  And, as with Jan, they would go ahead and get the flu later on anyway, but always with the claim that "it would have been worse if I hadn't had my shot".

Bullshit indeed ...

This year, there's something a little different.  There is plenty of vaccine for everybody.  This is good for the public at large, but presents a problem for the vaccine maker.  How to get rid of all that damned vaccine and make some money off of it.  So, in case you haven't noticed, there are lots of new places you can get your flu shot.  Like drug stores and big box hardware establishments ... and even Walmart.

But, since you have so many places to choose from, all of the above places have to start being a little creative and actually market the product and service so that you will buy it from them, and not somebody else.  In one year, places that turned you away, now fight for your flu shot business.

Inevitably, some of these marketing efforts are a bit clumsy and bizarre in their execution.  This afternoon, I was in a large chain drug store, looking for a pack of razor blades (because 2 years on one blade is probably enough), when I saw the familiar table set up in an aisle manned by someone in nurses garb.

In front of the table was a sign indicating that you could get your flu shot right there, right then.  And they even had a poster mascot ...

LOL Indeed!

I smiled, but skittered away quickly.  While I was doing my razor blade hunting.  I wondered if they had a cute name for the mascot.  But I don't think they did.  If it were me, I'd name it "Stabby".

Imagine, a busy mother trying to get her kids to do what every kid in America has nightmares about ... getting a shot.  All she has to do is say "Hey kids ... want to go see Stabby?"  And of course the kids would fall all over themselves being first in line.

God, I should have been in advertising.


  1. I never get the damn flu shot. Even with all the hype last year.

  2. They're even giving them at the kids' schools - which just seems like a scene from Pink Floyd's The Wall or something. Doesn't school suck enough already? I've gotten one flu shot in my life and have never been so sick - ended up with which everyone says, "Of course you did, you should have ALSO gotten a pneumonia shot!" BS, all of it. Funny post.