She gets migraine headaches. She’s had them all her life, she says. She tells us this in a commercial for Nurtec ODT, a new medication to combat migraines. We, I believe, are supposed to sympathize with her, feel her pain. But I don’t. She doesn’t come across as a sympathetic soul.
She is Khloé Kardashian and is standing in front of a white backdrop and appears to be in the midst of a photo-shoot. She is wearing a low-cut dress, probably more expensive than the average viewer can afford. She is gloss-lipped and professionally coifed, with her cleavage flowing into her decolletage like the northbound Willamette River as it merges with the Columbia. Her look, it seems, is more important than the message.
Nurtec ODT and its parent company Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, its advertising agency, and Ms. Kardashian all have made a choice. And it is, I believe, a poor one. It isn’t the choice of the dubious celebrity as pitchman, per se. It’s the priority of promoting the Kardashian brand—glamour and wealth—over the product.
Migraines are a serious issue. For those afflicted, relief is a necessity. Watching Ms. Kardashian, with her luscious lips and seductive glances, posing for a fashion photographer who seems to float around her, distracts from the seriousness of the message. Had Ms. Kardashian pitched the product in a nondescript t-shirt, with no make-up and a mussed ponytail, and announced “This is what I look like on my migraine days,” I would have been more attentive, more sympathetic. If her eyes reflected migraine pain, rather than glamour, she would have been more believable.
But this mixed-message advertisement got me thinking. What if the airways were filled with other mis-matched pitchmen—I mean pitchpersons—and products, like…
Shaquille O’Neal promoting those darling, dainty Smart Cars
Ellen DeGeneres and haute couture designer gowns
Anderson Cooper and Just For Men hair coloring
Justin Bieber and Harvard or MIT online classes
Judge Judy and Nice & Easy hair color
Mark Zuckerberg and the boardgame Monopoly
Nancy Pelosi for Frederick’s of Hollywood
Danny DeVito and Big & Tall Shops
Donald Trump promoting the TV series Orange is the New Black
Duane “The Rock” Johnson and Head & Shoulders shampoo
Madonna and virgin olive oil
Greta Thunberg and AARP membership
Andrew Dice Clay and Gideon Bibles
Vladimir Putin and American Girl Dolls
Kristin Chenoweth and a line of plus-sized clothes
OJ Simpson and Isotoner gloves
Queen Elizabeth II promoting RuPaul’s Drag Race
Melania Trump and Goodwill Industries of America
Football Superstar Tom Brady and wife Supermodel Gisele Bündchen for Weight Watchers
Kamala Harris, of Jamaican and East Indian descent and married to a Jew, promoting any white bread
and…and…oh, dear. All this racking my brain for advertising mismatches has given me a migraine headache. I’m in pain. I need help. I could use Nurtec-ODT. But I’ll search for another product, one that takes migraines more seriously.