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The newest money-maker for pharmaceutical companies — that are suffering from drug-patent profit losses — is to scare adults into getting more and more vaccines.
It’s all a marketing PLOY to increase profits at the expense of your health. Don’t fall for it. #LearnTheRisk

***Does the commercial mention the class-action lawsuit going on against Zostavax for severe life-destroying side effects and injuries from the vaccine?***

Merck hopes ominous new Zostavax ad can scare up adult vaccination rates

by Carly Helfand |

It wasn’t long ago that Merck’s Zostavax DTC marketing efforts included sporty, comedic spots starring NFL analyst and former quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Its newest effort couldn’t be more different.

The company is now running “Lurking Inside,” and if the name of the commercial alone doesn’t scare you, the creepy music, ominous shots of a defenseless woman swimming alone, graphic shingles imagery and threatening narration by the disease personified will likely do the trick.

“Impressive, Linda. It seems age isn’t slowing you down. But your immune system weakens as you get older, increasing the risk for me, the shingles virus,” the narrator asks in a voice-over fit for a proper Disney villainess.

“I’ve been lurking inside you since you had chicken pox,” the virus’ voice goes on. “I could surface any time as a painful, blistering rash. One in three people will get me in their lifetime, Linda. Will it be you?”

The ad’s fear factor is no accident, said Patrick Bergstedt, VP of Global Marketing for Merck Vaccines, in an interview with FiercePharma.

Bradshaw made a great spokesman, he explained, with “all the pizzazz and all the personality,” but considering the severity, prevalence and preventability of shingles, “I think we felt that it was time to become a little more serious and get through to people to say, ‘take action please.’”

Merck isn’t the only drugmaker to turn to scare tactics lately—and vaccine makers in particular have jumped on board with the strategy. It’s hard to forget the GlaxoSmithKline grandmother—who morphs into a wolf while cradling her infant grandchild—to convey the threat of spreading whooping cough without knowing it. More recently, a Pfizer Trumenba spot portrayed a mother in the hospital with a meningitis B-stricken son.

Companies may be hoping their new ads can scare up the low vaccination rate among adults, who aren’t bound by a mandatory immunization schedule.


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