Congratulations to Influenza A Virus subtype H1N1 Marketing Department

by Fred von Graf on May 1, 2009

Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 also known as the Swine Flu has a amazing marketing team behind it along with an amazing viral (excuse the intentional pun) element to the news.  I wonder if the other Influenza viruses are jealous?  Damn, did H1N1 hire Seth GodinDarren Rowse, Chris BrogenBrian Clark, Jeremy Schoemaker and to help get the message out?  Now H5N1 also known as Avian Flu (or Bird Flu) had a pretty good marketing campain during the 90’s but once it failed to mutate, and people lost interest in it like a Dog Riding a Skateboard video on YouTube.  If I were the common Influenza that mutates normally each year, I would be pissed!

Come on it’s killed more people per year (36,000+) than either N1H1 or N5H1 and causes more lost work from actual sickness and not hysteria.  Plus I’ve yet to see someone walking around in public with a useless dust mask because of it.  I think it might be time to reevaluate your Marketing department Influenza, or at least hire the same ones H1N1 has, cause you’re kicking ass and nobody seems to noticing.


So how did I come to think of the Swine Flu from a Marketing perspective? Well I saw a person walking around in public with a dust mask on today in a local store. Now I say dust mask because that’s what it was and because it was clearly not rated for anything better.  Personally my family all own Respro Techno Masks that filter down to the sub-micron level but we’ve owned them for years mainly to help filter Playa Dust out when we’re at Burning Man. But I digress, so when I saw this person walking around with this ineffective dust mask it made me think, ‘wow N1H1 has a great marketing team!’, able to get people to act like this in public.  Stop for a second and think about it!  The common influenza is just as viral, has killed far more people every year and I have never seen anyone change their behavior to the point of walking around in public with a dust mask.  Hell cars kill more people, but we aren’t making people take more difficult driving tests, that might make some companies loose money.

Now unless you’re in the minority like the infants with an underdeveloped immune system, a sickly adult with a poorly developed immune system or your elderly, you have a excellent chance of avoiding the H1N1.  Even if you do contract it you’ll most likely experience normal flu like symptoms, and after resting, hydration and letting your body deal with the virus, you’ll be fine.  To quote the Journal of the American Medica Association (JAMA), “Mortality associated with both influenza and RSV circulation disproportionately affects elderly persons. Influenza deaths have increased substantially in the last 2 decades, in part because of aging of the population, underscoring the need for better prevention measures, including more effective vaccines and vaccination programs for elderly persons.” 

The reality is we should be taking the same precautions suggested for dealing with H1N1 for the normal flu!  Wash your damn hands people, teach your kids to cough in to a disposable tissue or at least there sleeves (NOT their hands!), use hand sanitizer after contact with public / higher risk areas.  If you are actually sick then do get tested and limit your contact with others!  

One of the things that upsets me about this whole thing is how the media in their self serving way is attempting to sensationalize the whole thing.  I understand that they are in business like every other thing out there.  It’s also obvious that their revenue comes from having as many eyes glued to them as possible.  Which directly equates to more advertising revenue by getting more views.  So how do they manage this?  Hello! In today’s world where we all live in  information overload, they need to feed on peoples fears, sensationalize things, exaggerated what they can get away with, use human psychology to it’s fullest.  So now to the point that upsets me, it’s not really the media, that’s expected from them, it’s what’s fueled great entertainment like The Daily ShowInfomania and The Onion.  I’m upset by the results of the media’s actions, not the actions themselves.  By promoting this attention grabbing hysteria they are clogging up the hospitals with people that are NOT sick!

I went down to my local ER and the hysteria was palpable, everyone thought they were infected, lines were crazy, everyone was wearing a mask and the level of psychosomatic illness was acute.  The few people that were actually in need of medical attention were NOT receiving it all due to the hysteria and ignorance of the masses, fueled by the media.  Hell the nurses weren’t even able to triage the patients for hours!

My one request is that you NOT go to your local ER unless it’s a REAL emergency!  Go to your clinic, your regular doctor, an urgent care, better yet stay home, call a nurse line and stop wasting peoples time!  What do you think?  Am I completely off on this one?

Photo Credit: Spammo91

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Brian November 5, 2009 at 13:21

That is absolutely what has happened in this situation. Great job.

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