Sunday, 12 July 2009


Overview of how different influenza strains ca...Image via Wikipedia

The UAE's advertising agencies have long been famous for their skill, creativity, taste and discernment, let alone managing to run their businesses on unbelievably tight margins (the latter, at least, an assertion made by advertising bigshot Joe Ghoussoub talking to Emirates Business 24x7 last week which did rather result in me having to clean half-chewed muesli from my keyboard).

So any hint of egregious opportunism in the advertising campaign for Dac, whose roadside promise to 'Eliminate flu viruses and doubts for 24 hours' in the face of rising public concern regarding the H1N1 'swine flu' virus is obviously in my imagination. It's nice to see big business taking a role in public education campaigns in the face of health scares rather than making unsustainable claims for products that target our fears.

The advertising campaign being mounted by Dettol (ten times more effective than soap, apparently) at least doesn't make a promise, directly or indirectly, to protect gullible consumers from swine flu or any other form of influenza, even if its timing does perhaps mean it sails a little close to profiteering from the pandemic.

The Dac advertisement did leave me wondering if global chemicals company Henkel, rightly proud of its track record in corporate governance and CSR, would truly associate itself with a campaign that makes the absolute promise that one of its domestic cleaning products will eliminate influenza viruses. And if it does, I'd love to see the peer-reviewed research that stands the claim up...

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