July 02, 2010

Perfect Storm of Hysteria

Last year we witnessed a perfect storm of hysteria.

Unhinged "experts" and feverish media outlets conspired to enhance their self-importance in a worldwide hysteriafest called "swine flu."

The World Health Organization announced: "All of humanity under threat."

Here at Ad Contrarian World Headquarters, our Global Science Division was busy ridiculing these overwrought maniacs. We told our readers:
"Despite all the lurid headlines, pardon me if I don't get too hysterical over swine flu.

You see, I'm living on borrowed time....By now, I should have been long dead from SARS, or bird flu, or mad cow disease, or ebola virus, or Legionaire's disease. You remember those, don't you? They were the other "pandemics" that were going to kill us all."
When the experts told us that "2 billion people could get swine flu" we wrote:
"Here are some other things that could happen:
* Chickens could learn how to yodel..
* Wolf Blitzer could dance the tango naked...
* The World Health Organization could be clueless hysterical bureaucrats who don't know when to shut the hell up"
Well, the results are in and apparently it's okay to take off your surgical mask. According to the Associated Press here's the final score:
  • The swine flu was significantly milder than the run-of-the-mill flu that comes around every year. To be precise, it was about 1/3 as lethal.
  • The US Government has about 40 million unused doses of swine flu vaccine laying around that have passed their sell-by date and have to be destroyed at a cost of 260,000,000 of our dollars.
  • There are another 30 million doses about to expire.
  • Once again, the self-important, self-promoting experts were dead wrong and the gullible, feckless media went along for the ride.
"Each time the so-called experts told us that millions of people would be killed worldwide by the respective viruses. We have learned that the experts were utterly wrong," said an advisor to the World Health Organization, Dr. Ulrich Keil, a professor at Germany's University of Muenster.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with advertising?

You go to advertising and marketing conferences. You listen to "experts" tell you that the consumer is this and the future is that. They're articulate. They're cock-sure. They're convincing. They have awards and books and blogs.

But do they really know anything?

If people with advanced degrees in medicine and epidemiology don't know shit, do you really think these overfed marketing blowhards know anything?

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