Saturday, June 29, 2013
Surgery Ads We'll Never See*
If any of you have ever driven north along the Gulf Freeway in southeast Harris county, south of Houston, you probably saw a billboard advertising one of the local Plastic Surgeons screaming about “the Fine Art of Natural Cosmetic Surgery.” Such an advertisement is an oxymoron if ever one existed. The ad includes an image of an attractive woman, which, I suppose, implies that if you visit this Plastic Surgeon you will look like her, assuming you are of the female persuasion. Every time I see this billboard I’m struck by the whole concept of advertising medical and surgical services.
Of course, advertising for medical care has been around for years. Hospitals advertise their newest high tech equipment, free standing ER’s are not shy about their short waiting times and variety of medical providers market their skills in bariatric surgery, LASIK, varicose vein treatment, and cosmetic surgery. It is not surprising that most of this advertising is for treatment of conditions which are not covered by most insurance plans.
In the name of fairness, equal marketing and just a bit of fun, it’s time to present some ads which have not been posted for the general public, but perhaps should.
I’ll start with a simple one. Years ago there used to be a diner that employed a fat man in a red clown suit. His job was to stand out in front of the restaurant and walk up and down the street wearing a sandwich sign which said “Lunch Special, 2 for 1”. He was out there every day, Monday through Friday, from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm, marching up and down, rain or shine, through heat waves and hail storms, waving, smiling and walking back and forth, back and forth. I think he liked his job. And, he gave me an idea.
Back in those days, the surgery business was slow at times. I wasn’t nearly as established as I am now and there were days where there were no surgeries scheduled and only a few patients coming to the office. I know it wasn’t an original idea, but I told my Medical Assistant that I thought business would pick up if she emulated our friendly man in the red clown suit and started walking the streets advertising specials in surgery. I even offered to pay for the red clown and make up the sign:
“Lunch Time Special, Hernia Repair 2 for the Price of 1”
“It can’t miss,” I exclaimed. I was taken aback when my assistant declined. Needless to say she did not work for me much longer. The red clown suit, however, became a running joke in the office. Whenever a new MA came to work for us and she had been in the office for a few weeks, she would be asked if she was ready to be fitted for her red clown suit. This question always brought puzzled looks. At this point one of the established MA’s would take the newbie aside and explain her duties. Most of the new MA’s caught on to the joke quickly, but there was one who didn’t quite grasp its fictional nature. She fretted and worried over it for days. She carried a frown on her face for days, until I finally asked her what was bothering her.
She almost broke down in tears as she stated she didn’t think she could wear the clown suit. It turns out the other girls had kept the joke going, tormenting my new help, without my knowledge. I told her she would be exempt for now and not to worry about it anymore. In reality, we don’t even have a clown suit in our office.
There are other ads I’ve speculated about and would like to see:
Plastic Surgeons are now doing a procedure called “Vaginal Rejuvenation”, the details of which seem clear by the name of the procedure. My first thought when I heard about this procedure was that there should be a billboard with before and after pictures. However, my colleagues have informed me that this may cause traffic disruptions, delays and possibly fatal accidents. Therefore, in the name of safety, I’ve come up with an alternative, subtler, but even more effective.
The billboard would have two pictures, the first of a graying, tired old cat and the second of a spry young kitten. The caption could read:
“Why have a tired old tabby when you can have a hot young kitten? Call Dr. Pussy”
I think the implication is perfectly clear.
Another billboard I’ve considered, which would help my practice:
“Natural Hemorrhoid Surgery. Natural functions deserve natural surgery. Call Dr. Butt today.”
Images of Hemorrhoids before and after surgery would be posted with these words.
“Be out in Front of the Competition with Breast Augmentation by Acme Plastic Surgery, Dr. B. I. G. Chest, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon”
(This ad could also be for a manufacturer of padded bras)
“Prostate Problems? Call Dr. Leakey. He’ll help you find a good night’s sleep.”
Feel free to add to the list.
*some of the content of this article may be offensive to those of a sensitive nature.