I’ve found that Bayer has the darkest commercials in the entire world, but I guess that really shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone, especially when you consider that the company – once a part of IG Farben during World War II – participated in a wide variety of atrocious Nazi war crimes.
Though Bayer split from IG Farben in 1951, it would appear that the evil ingrained in the company’s blood in the 1940’s still exists to this day. In a recent series of commercials aimed to promote Bayer aspirin’s ability to help prevent heart attacks, we are asked to follow the story of an omniscient maniac who gets off on striking unimaginable fear into people and, despite his/her ability to know when people will have heart attacks, does nothing to prevent them.
In these commercials, the never-seen psychopath leaves chilling messages for his/her victims, telling them that certain doom is in their near future and there is nothing they can do about it.
Take, for instance, Jackie:
Poor Jackie. She got her note on a receipt in front of her friends. Was this some sick joke by the waiter or the manager? As initially concerned as she is, Jackie apparently just shrugs it off, probably because she is with friends and they convince her it’s nothing. Well guess what? She ends up actually having the heart attack.
Now this next one is really fucked up. This maniac not only knows Laura’s home address, but he/she sends Laura a customized personal note (that obviously looks like it took time to make) telling her that her attack will come in TWO days. That’s two days to wonder who the hell sent the note, why that person did it and what it all means. And after all of that mental torture, Laura has the heart attack anyway.
Now look at this! In Bob’s story, he gets a note handed to him with the message, “Your heart attack will happen tomorrow.” But that’s not the crazy part. The unbelievable thing is that someone hands the note to Bob in a meeting. Sure, it’s initially folded, but the woman probably took a little peak at what it said, so why did she still deliver it and who gave the note to the woman? Why didn’t Bob immediately go question her about this? The commercial does skip ahead – of course he has the heart attack – so maybe we are just left to assume that he went on an all-night quest to discover the source of the note and only came up short, leaving more people victim to this deranged game.
This last one might be the most messed up one of all. Jack is on the bus, ready to do his daily crossword. Only this one is different. Before he can begin, he sees a message scrawled into the boxes. It reads, “YOUR HEART ATTACK HAPPENS TODAY”. Jack is presumably on his way to work, so that has to weigh on his mind all day. But even more insane is that someone knew Jack loved the crossword, wrote the message on it and then found a way to make sure that that particular paper was the EXACT one Jack picked up that day. This person had obviously traced Jack’s steps every day for many weeks or months, meticulously planning the perfect way to deliver the message. This is an especially thought-out and unsettling move.
Since these are Bayer ads, you have to wonder why this all-knowing character wouldn’t just use these powers for good. Instead, he/she allowed each and every person to not only have their heart attack, but tortured them in the process. And why lie to us in the commercials by saying, “So-and-so’s heart attack didn’t come with a warning” when we see so clearly that it did?
Maybe these commercials are an added commentary about life in general, that we will never have control over our lives no matter how much we try to convince ourselves that we do. That for all of the preventive measures we take (in this case, aspirin), nothing stops our inevitable journey to death.
Maybe the people at Bayer are just insane.