Life Alert sinks to new low

I just saw the latest Life Alert commercial and my reaction is so negative in so many ways that I hardly know where to begin. Fear tactics are a loathsome way to sell a product, but Life Alert has turned it into a trademark. “Help! I’ve fallen and I cant’ get up!” has been the butt of jokes for decades. But this time I’m not laughing. This commercial has gone too far. It’s offensive and disturbing and Life Alert should be ashamed of itself for trying to sell a product this way.

 



Categories: advertising, video content

27 replies

  1. Good grief PT. Despite it being so disturbing, I could accept the realism of the first part. It was the transition to the cheesy sales pitch that just ruined the whole thing for me however…

    • It’s a jarring change of mood, isn’t it? Just makes a bad ad even worse. This is the long version and all I could find on YouTube that didn’t have somebody else’s comments appended. What I saw on TV had a lot less pitch at the end.

  2. If you aren’t already on their phone call list thank your lucky stars. I get one at least twice a week and no amount of trying will get you off their list and no amount of sarcastic, crude, obscene comments will deter them from calling again.

  3. Man, that’s really one creepy scene in the large, lonely house, and it is obvious scare tactics. But, scare tactics is a proven sales method and it is freedom of speech and as SCOTUS has made clear, that applies to companies too. The best way to fight back against the hard sell, in my opinion, is ample use of the mute button, or better yet, a DVR to bypass the ads. Also, to encourage the free flow of information from approved sources.

    I know from family experience that such devices serve a useful purpose. So do hearing aids, and that business is also rife with the hard-sell. This is social Darwinism and it makes me grateful for sources like AARP (magazine and bulletin) and the new Consumer Protection Agency to help people sort it out. Now if we had a government healthcare system . . . But, I digress. Sigh.

    I remember reading some years ago about a poor old lady who lived alone and in January accidentally locked herself out of her house while getting her morning paper. All her neighbors were away from home and she froze to death on her own doorstep.

    I personally reached a point a decade ago or so when I realized my back problems had weakened me. I could barely kneel down and then barely get up. That shocked my psyche big-time and I embarked on a regular regimen of exercise that included the abdominals, arms, hands and legs. The problem disappeared. It helped that I adjusted my food intake and lost some weight too. Some people are not going to be able to handle it that way, however, especially if they have joint problems. If they live alone, an electronic alert device could very well be better than going to the old-folks home.

    • Oh certainly the horror stories are out there. And that’s really all we need. Ads like this are unnecessary and offensive. I don’t question the value of such devices, and living alone as I do, have seriously considered getting one at some point (not this brand). But I resent this company trying to play on and exacerbate my concern with commercials like this. Fear mongering is a cheap, ugly tactic.

    • Jim…
      We DO have a government health care system. It’s called the VA. Check it out.

      • @ImaLibertarian,

        We DO have a government health care system. It’s called the VA. Check it out.

        Yes, Ima, I have. I can’t attest to its quality myself but I’ve read enough in the past decade to believe that the VA system is outstanding in many ways. Its doctors and other practitioners are salaried and thus generally free from financial pressures to concentrate on quality of care. I say generally because we all know of the recent scandal over scheduling, but even there I hear reports that once a veteran is actually in the system the care is very good.

        The problem that the scheduling scandal presents is, I submit, more complex than it appears. This is not simply a case of bureaucrats gone greedy but of a bureaucracy pressured to do more than it can and faster than it can, complicated by the wrongful notion that mere bonuses might make the impossible happen. At the heart of that problem is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about: mental health. PTSD and its relatives are much different from other ailments. The truth is, modern medicine is very poor and very slow in dealing with mental illness. The pharmacopeia shelves are full of psycho-active drugs but those are not cures and their application is closer to the practice of voodoo than certitude of efficacy. I know because I’ve experienced the process through a sister’s travails.

        PTSD is probably the largest mental problem that veterans as a group have, but they are also a subset of general society in that regard and the civilian system is just as poor at dealing with it, maybe worse. That’s why approximately half of the millions of prisoners in our nation’s jails and prisons are mentally ill – there’s no place else for them to go. It is a national disgrace.

        • With all due respect, Jim, I see the elephant as the notion that prices (and costs) are something that can be dictated by by fiat. It’s really that simple.

          No publicly funded enterprise exists without constantly increasing prices because the enterprise can’t respond to the fluctuating demand which dictate the cost of supplying the product or service. The only response possible is to control the controllable… cutting quality or quantity until more money can be appropriated… and lying about it until then, Something that’s perceived to be free will always be over utilized until the money dries up or the source of it revolts against the theft.

          It’s a big elephant. Just my 75 years of observation.

          • With respect back at you, Ima, you are implying, I think, that the law of supply and demand ought properly to be the way to go for veterans and mental health, but supply and demand work poorly for healthcare. Nobody shops hospital price lists when they’re having a heart attack. MediCare, a.k.a. socialized medicine, is an example of how prices and costs can be controlled. In fact, MediCare is the principal factor doing that. Otherwise, charges are by chargemasters, which are the price lists used by hospitals and which have zero basis in reality.

            I’ll give you another example. I think it was yesterday I read an article about the use of robotic surgery, a practice now growing at 15% a year and fast becoming standard. An independent study just released showed no decrease in complications or in recovery times because of the robots, and yet the things cost about $1.7 million dollars. The same results but robots way more expensive. Some supply and demand! And to make it worse, there’s concern that medical schools will omit teaching the manual skills.

            Also, consider this, if you will. There’s lot’s of money in treating erectile dysfunction but hardly any in treating PTSD. Many PTSD patients can’t even keep a job. No wonder medical and pharmacological research is lagging In the more mundane areas. That’s my 77 years of observation.

            • Jim…
              Legal marijuana in Colorado is more expensive than it’s illegal counterpart.

              For the same reasons, the costs/prices in our current medical care system are a reflection of the controls imposed on it. I, for instance, don’t participate in Medicare Part D because I have better drug coverage elsewhere. And outside of even that insurance, I use drugs that come from Canada and India because they are the same drugs marketed here under the name of a US drug company – and their total price is less than my co-pay.

              Regarding funding for ED as opposed to PTSD: Consider that professional basketball players make A LOT more money than our children’s teachers. Basketball players aren’t members of a government controlled employee system. Imagine (suspend your disbelief for just a second) that school teachers were marketed by agents who use past students grade and success history to place them in a position where parents could take advantage of their successful record. Of course then parents would also need the ability to send their children to whatever school they pleased.

              Some of the best student records come from the poorest of families who happen to be in a place where the government doesn’t preclude them from using a charity based magnet and technically oriented primary and secondary schools. Their hiring, salary, promotion and termination practices are much less restricted than government schools. There’s a fundamental reason.

              Whenever one person or some authority figure gets to dictate what is “fair”, there is no such thing as a “supply and demand” economic system.

              Regarding Robots: My first cell phone cost me a LOT more than my current cell phone and it does a lot more than just be a telephone like my first one. Every car we’ve owned in the last twenty years had many of it’s components installed by robots.

              Just for fun… read Asimov’s “The Caves Of Steel.” In addition to being a murder mystery, it’s about the police force being threatened by robots replacing them. Their weak and strong points, both physically and psychologically.

              There are some fundamental truths relating to what can be and what should be controlled.

            • Ima,

              First off, I appreciate having a civil discourse on politics, so, hat’s off to you!

              Legal marijuana in Colorado is more expensive than it’s illegal counterpart.

              I believe that would be because illegal marijuana isn’t taxed. If it were, which would be desirable to fund the law enforcement it entails, it would cost more. None of the price of illegal weed contributes to its policing, nor to the cost of health consequences of varying quality, strength and contamination, so no wonder it’s cheaper.

              I’m glad you can access cheaper foreign drugs, but it sounds risky to me, at least for the ones from India. However, I agree that the cost of U.S. drugs is unreasonably high. The main factor there, I submit, is not government administrative cost but a faulty and corrupt patent system. For that I blame the Big Pharma lobby and corrupt politicians.

              I agree that the education system is broken, but marketing the best teaching talent to the wealthiest parents would be devastating to the 47% (or maybe to the 90%). Freedom of choice is of little value if most people can’t afford it. Charity-based funding usually has religious strings attached, and that’s OK if it’s your religion, if you can afford the contributions to your religion, and, if in some cases you don’t care if your kid thinks the world is only 6,000 years old. I’ve been looking for a viable alternative to public education for a long time and have yet to find it.

              Whenever one person or some authority figure gets to dictate what is “fair”, there is no such thing as a “supply and demand” economic system.

              A true capitalist supply and demand system exists only in the dreams of economics majors, I think, unless it’s a kid’s lemonade stand. Everything in real life, all over the world, is taxed and regulated, and for good reason. Without government is anarchy, and government is never free. We can argue about the size, obviously, and I will jump in line ahead of you to pare it down, starting with DHS, DNI, and the Cold War parts of DOD.

              I read “Caves Of Steel” and all the rest of Asimov I could get my hands on, starting as a teenager. So, I’m not a Luddite. Far from it, I love technology. I’m an engineer, for heaven’s sake. But I also consider myself a pragmatist and when technology only complicates and adds to the cost, I think we need to be aware of it. Unfortunately, hospitals know what impresses people – modern appearance, private rooms, flat-screen TV’s, and bells and whistles, not reasonable nurse staffing ratios, rates of infection and medical errors, which is where the emphasis ought to be. But so long as the system is all about the money and increasing through-put, and not patient welfare, the system we have will keep growing in cost until it collapses of its own weight. I think we’re close to that now.

            • If I may interject, Jim, you are correct about taxes on Colorado’s legal marijuana. The retail sales tax on it is 10% and the marijuana excise tax is 15%. All of the excise tax collected goes to our schools. January 2014 dollar amounts are itemized here. There are strict regulations regarding quality, strength, packaging, sanitation during production, etc.

  4. Ugh. Irritating on so many levels.

  5. YES! Thank you. This commercial needs to go.

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"Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance." ~ Plato

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