Monday, December 11, 2006

Head On

So maybe these commercials don't make Anderson Cooper grumpy, but they irritate me! I think CNN alone is responsible for this product making tons of money. One day this past summer, I counted the commercial airing over 15 times just during the daytime broadcasts. The advertising technique is so popular now, that I've seen other commercials using the same annoying format. Head On, be gone!

(New York Daily News) – The commercials are everywhere and likely to give you a headache.

In rapid fire, a female voice instructs: "HeadOn, apply directly to the forehead!" A zombified woman does just that.

The maddening low-budget promo has been hypnotic: Americans have snapped up 6 million tubes of the dubious headache treatment in the past year, and that has doctors slapping their foreheads in frustration.

HeadOn is a concoction of homeopathic compounds and herbs - like goldenseal, Bryonia alba and blue flag - common to alternative medicine.

"I've never seen that for headache at all," Dr. Robert Duarte, a neurologist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, said of HeadOn's ingredients. They have not been formally tested for headaches and migraines, added Dr. Fred Freitag of Chicago's Diamond Headache Clinic.

Other ingredients are menthol, often used as a cooling agent, potassium dichromate - a salt - and white bryony, an irritant that can be poisonous if ingested.

So far, the topical HeadOn appears to be safe, but it contains so little of its active ingredients that it's uncertain they'd have any effect, Freitag said.

The makers beg to differ.

HeadOn "creates a localized effect which stimulates the production of endorphins [feel-good hormones], which act on the nerve endings to reduce pain," said Dan Charron, vice president of sales at HeadOn maker Miralus Healthcare. The Plantation, Fla., firm hasn't published any scientific data about how the product works.

Dr. Richard Lipton, director of the Montefiore Headache Center in the Bronx, thinks HeadOn could help some migraine sufferers for a far more simplistic reason: It's mainly wax.

"If something coats the skin, it's not affecting what's fundamentally a brain process, but it may protect the skin from stimuli that would otherwise make the pain worse," Lipton said.

Charron insists there is no wax in HeadOn.

The ambiguity is such that in April, the Better Business Bureau recommended that Miralus tone down its claims.

The product has "insufficient evidence to support performance," the bureau ruled. So Miralus tweaked its ads - and sales jumped by another 30%.

The ads have sparked a series of parodies on the YouTube Internet site, including giggling teens rubbing irons and staplers on their heads.

Miralus took note of the mockery and recently made a new commercial that winks at how annoying its ads are: An exasperated HeadOn user interrupts the familiar mantra and declares, "I can't stand your commercial, but your product is amazing!"

5 comentarios:

Anonymous said...

I've wondered the same thing. For something like this to work on headaches it has to get into the bloodstream, right? In which case it would make more sense to apply it to the pulse points. Also, beware of anyone who calls themselves "doctor" but doesn't have an M.D. after their name.


Anonymous said...

When I first saw that product, it seemed like the stupidest thing ever, I just couldn't picture myself rubbing that stuff on my head like Chapstick.

Jennifer said...

OMG!!! Anon 12:42...that's so funny! The mental image of this giant chapstick on my way in hell am I putting that stuff on my skin.

eliza said...

CNN loves this friggin commercial and I don't know why. I always tape all my tv shows and fast forward through the commercials, so news commercials are the only ones I ever see. I assumed everyone was being annoyed by HeadOn, but not so. I was complaining to a couple friends about it once and they had no idea what I was talking about. Sometimes I forget how small a newjunkie's world is. ;)

A week or so ago NBC Nightly News experimented with only having one sponser for the half hour. It was cool and I immediately hoped CNN might follow. But on second thought, they'd probably pick the damn HeadOn commercial. So screw that. Heh.

jr said...

I actually sent in an email to Dr. Gupta asking if this "Head On" product is the real deal and does it work. Never got a response back.


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