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Why Did Yaz Get So Popular?

If contraceptives containing the hormone drospirenone are so dangerous, how (or why) were they prescribed to so many young women throughout the past 10+ years? Yaz, the infamous birth control manufactured by Bayer, rose to prominence in the mid-2000’s after its users began developing fatal blood clots and gallbladder injuries. Since then, sales of this contraceptive have exceeded $1 billion despite its adverse side effects. But why?

Say Goodbye to Miss Judy Moody…

(And hello to Miss Deep Vein Thrombosis) Yaz commercials have been the subject of parodies due to their outrageous tactics to “educate” women while simultaneously talking about the long list of side effects and warnings. Yaz marketers used common advertising tactics such as:

It only makes sense that a commercial begins with stating benefits and ends with reiterating their positive introductory points.  Yaz commercials make the best use of this strategy by opening the conversation up with the unique characteristics of the pill and allowing the actresses ample time to explain the “great things doctors told them about it”.  Midway through the scene, the “doctor” friend rushes through her dialogue, robotically listing who should avoid using Yaz and why.  Shortly after this, she announces her medical profession and closes the scene with a comforting message to the audience.

Emphasizing vs. Understating
Many women who have filed lawsuits against Bayer accredited the manufacturer with emphasizing the pill’s benefits rather than its adverse effects.  Many of Yaz’s commercials highlight menstrual symptoms it corrects such as acne, mood swings, and traits associated with PMDD.  Women who would come across such persuasive advertisements were attracted to the youthful appearance of Yaz “users” as well as it’s bright logo and fun promotional material.  Marketers of this pill continuously downplayed its serious risks for the sake of detracting interested women.

This may be one of the most influential techniques when promoting drugs.  What better way to create reliability than implementing a sense of trust and authority?  Towards the end of the advertisement, one of the women informs her friends about Yaz’s ingredients and potential side effects.  Afterwards, she states that she is a doctor and mentions that many of her patients ask about the contraceptive which, in return, she recommends it to them.  Her, being a medical professional, sets off a green light for the audience; people begin to trust the benefits and legitimacy of Yaz and plant the question, “If a doctor prescribes it to her patients…it must be safe.”

For more facts relating to Yaz or other dangerous drugs, read about them here.