Citi Thinks Diseases are Comedy Gold

The unintentional comedy of the context ad bots strikes again.

While posting a message to a Myspace support group for sufferers of fibromyalgia and other chronic pain and fatigue disorders, Brian was greeted with the ad at right, which reads, “Chronic Feetiuge. Tired of paying credit card late fees.”

Whether by design or serendipity, Citi offended him. Brian suggests these other slogans Citi could look into for expanding the “Diseases are Funny” campaign:

AIDSAnnual Interest Depression Syndrome
Financial Myalgiathe pain one feels when paying too much for checking
Terminal Cancerthe desire to cancel one’s high-interest credit cards

Submit yours in the comments.

Comments

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  1. mrscolex says:

    Those whiny sissies.

    I’ll sign myself up for flame bait:

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome controversies

    Everyone whom I’ve ever known who suffers from the syndrome are all whiny hypochrondriacs. Citibanks ad campaign has hardly crossed any lines…

  2. D’accord, mrscolex. Ooooh no, I’m so tired! Boo hoo hoo.

    What’s more insulting to me than their ad campaign is the fact that this guy has the nerve to compare his chronic all-tuckered-out-edness to AIDS. And TERMINAL CANCER. And did I mention AIDS?!?!

  3. mrscolex says:

    Oh and here are my submissions, all based on other ridiculous syndromes that people overinflate to make themselves feel like they have a crutch in life:

    Dyschexia – Not being able to balance your checkbook because the numbers look all funny.

    ADHD – ATM Debitcard Hysteria Disorder – The russian’s stole your PIN number. Blame store retailers and banks and not the clearinghouses that transmit the information (I’ll give you a hint, think novainfo..) Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars.

  4. iota says:

    he went to a support group site about fatigue disorders, and there was an ad for “chronic feetigue” by citibank?!

    Am I the only one who thinks that’s hilarious?

    Oh, and of course they aren’t saying “diseases are funny”… that’s OBVIOUSLY not the point of the ad. Brian, get over it. And in my opinion if you’re going to Myspace for emotional support you really shouldn’t be expecting too much to begin with.

    And in case he’s reading this, Brian I went to your site (linked to in the article) and I was really impressed with the artwork.

  5. People Paula says:

    Brian, your concern over this is only making your disorder worse….

  6. OkiMike says:

    The funny thing is that Citi is simply making the point that “chronic fatigue” can be achieved by their “fees”, so they are right to acknowledge this and we get the joke.

    But the joke is on them! Citi is like snake oil salesman who causes a disease and conveniently offers the cure!

  7. greghard says:

    My biggest concern is the people in this thread who are making fun of a disorder they know nothing about, and have probably never had. Granted, there are many people who, I’m sure, are hypochondriacs who “have” CFS.

    It’s one thing to make a sarcastic comment, but to say something truely ignorant about a (semi) real disorder is just pathetic. It’s very similar to people who connect clinical depression to being “down in the dumps” when it is so much more severe than that, often requiring hospitalization to prevent suicide attempts.

    On a side note, Brian should probably get over it. It’s fucking myspace.

  8. mrscolex says:

    greghard:

    I’ll see your depression analogy and raise the stakes:

    You seem like you’re fairly intelligent from browsing your blog– maybe you can explain why suicide rates in youths age 15-24 went up 200% from the 1950′s to the late 1970′s– and since the 70′s to the present day has remained more or less stable (decreasing only slightly as of recently)

    Let’s say I agree with you that clinical depression is a serious issue– but don’t you find it odd that as social awareness of mental disorders such as clinical depression dramatically increased, the number of fatal suicides rose?

    I may be making an ignorant statement, but it would seem to me from my less than informed perspective that through all of the coddling, drugging, and awareness that we’ve tried to give people with such disorders– the problem steadily became worse. If we are to assume that theres a definitive relationship with people whom are depressed and suicides (60% of all suicide related deaths stem from depression according to the fact sheet) then it would seem to me that those kids back in the fifties must have been a different breed.

    Or maybe its all unrelated? Maybe this is like the Pirates to Global Warming graph. I’d love to hear your opinion as somebody who is studying psychology.

    My opinion? (And let’s be honest, I’m not qualified to make an informed one so grain of salt– not everything you read on the internet is true) My opinion is that as more illnesses like depression started gaining social legitimacy as a serious illness, the quicker doctors were to diagnose it. I’m not pretending to be Tom Cruise on a sofa, I’m not a scientologist, but if those suicide stats are any indication, then the constant self-victimization that people put themselves through doesn’t help the problem.

    Now back to CFS (the depression analogy after all, was yours) — I think CFS falls under the same category. You watch– as social awareness of CFS increases, suddenly it’ll become an epidemic across the United States. Everyone who ever had to take a nap during the day is going to complain that they’ve got CFS. This isn’t just a mockery of people who are claiming to be constantly tired, its a mockery of the system of doctors who give them legitimacy by not telling them to get off their ass. Instead we’ll coddle them by telling them that they’re the victims of a disease that has never been proven to exist, and the closest thing people came up with as an explanation was the herpes virus (recently shot down) — Give it a few years, dateline will do a story called “Fibro Myalgia, the sleeping epidemic” get it?

    It’ll creep right along with the obesity epidemic– we’ll all be fat, sleepy, lazy, and depressed, and we’ll be blaming everything and everyone but OURSELVES as we pop more and more pills and sit in front of the TV watching Dateline and scaring ourselves shitless with ridiculous syndromes, disorders, and diseases.

    suicide stats:

    http://www.suicidology.org/associations/1045/files/Suicide

  9. CatMoran says:

    maybe you can explain why suicide rates in youths age 15-24 went up 200% from the 1950′s to the late 1970′s– and since the 70′s to the present day has remained more or less stable (decreasing only slightly as of recently)

    I don’t know about greghard, but I’d like to give it a shot.

    My theory — and this is only a pet theory, based on similar situations but with no hard data behind it — is that the number of suicides per capita did not increase between the 50′s and the 70′s. Rather, the number of deaths by suicide reported as suicide, increased.

    I suspect that you’ll find that the death rate for some other cause dropped during that same period, as the quest for accurate statistics outweighed the family’s desire, and the authorities’ willingness, to conceal a teenager’s illness/sin.

  10. mrscolex says:

    CatMoran:

    Thats a fair assessment, and one that I actually did consider, but I figured my reasoning weighed out because the spike seemed endemic specifically to that demographic. It’s also more or less across the board, even in other (developing) countries as well.

    From this link:

    “Despite advancements in the treatment and recognition of depression, suicide rates have steadily increased over the last 50 years.”

    More statistical flogging? Sure I could see it– after all these are developing countries and we don’t expect accurate statistics from them.

    But not just in those countries, but Canada as well:

    Canadian Statistics in a nice graph

    The other reason I don’t think its statistical flogging is this little nugget of information:

    “It took until 1989 before the rates declined to that existing at the onset of the Great Depression in 1927.

    Indicating that people certainly had no qualms about reporting suicide information during one of the countries hardest economic and social times of the century. (This information relating to canada specifically, but I think if I could find US data it would mostly mirror this).

    So based on that, after the great depression suicide plunged *dramatically* and then starting in the early sixties suicide began to skyrocket again– even as our quality of life dramatically improved.

    You be the judge.

  11. Brian says:

    Hey guys, I’m the one who submitted this story. A couple things:

    Firstly, I wasn’t seriously offended by the ad. I think Ben must have assumed that I was. I just thought that it was both a really dumb tagline, and weirdly insensitive. A chronic disease isn’t like a headache, or heartburn. Someone else could have been hurt by it. My alternate suggestions were deliberately overstated, though in retrospect, they are not at all funny. I don’t think chronic fatigue is on the same level as AIDS. I’d retract them if I could.

    Secondly, chronic fatigue is now almost universally accepted by doctors as a real condition, particularly as a *secondary affliction* in patients stricken with Rheumatoid Arthritus, MS, Fibromyalgia, and Lupus (to name a few). It shouldn’t be at all surprising that a body gets tired when it’s in pain all the time. Myself, I was perfectly healthy until two years ago, when I was struck with an ever increasing ache in every muscle of my body, coupled with near-crippling fatigue. I’ve felt like I’ve had the flu and a sunburn every single day since 2004. My doctors think it’s probably fibromyalgia, although fibro is something that is still poorly understood and controversial itself. What is known is that people with FMS have 300-500% more pain transmitting chemicals in their spinal fluid than they ought to, and they all share a certain set of tender points on their skin.

    Fortunately, I am still able to work in the animation industry I love so much, and I find enough energy to write music now and again. I work six days a week in a production environment and haven’t taken a sick day since last fall. I’m not mooching off anybody. I’ve got a fatalistic sense of humor and am able to laugh at the aburdity of my premature decrepitism. I’m certainly thankful that my arms and legs still work. I’ve become a much more sympathetic person the past couple years.

    As for why I was posting in a support group on MySpace . . . well, have you read this thread? And I don’t blame you guys. I’m a hardcore skeptic. I used to roll my eyes whenever I heard about chronic fatigue too.

    The only way you can understand chronic pain is to have it, and sometimes it’s nice to talk to someone who knows where you’re coming from.

    And thanks to those who liked my work. I need to update my site with some recent production illustrations I did for a Swedish animated film.

  12. dr_gonzo says:

    And here I thought Chronic Fatigue was from smoking to much dope.

  13. Brian says:

    Chronic fatigue often follows blunt-force trauma and joint injuries.

    *cough*

  14. TamsiniLinguini says:

    I must admit, I have read this thread with great interest. Some interesting points made about not only the (possible and unintentional) ambiguity of the ad, but also of the increasing suicide rates – the arguments for which truly are worth some thought. I, myself, would automatically have rasied the issue of the family unit having broken down over the years, leaving teens and young adults no longer having the support of the parental unit in times of crisis. However, if deveoping countries have also experienced a rise in suicide rates, this may not be the cause. (Unless of-course, there is a cause in developing countries than our own?)

    I would also like to add, having been unwell with CFS (known as M.E in the UK), since I was 15, that unlike the comment that as yet there has been no evidence that it truly exists, that aside from sophisticated brain scans showing a reduction in the bloodflow to the brain, in CFS patients, in the summer of 2005, a Dr John W. Gow of Glasgow University did in fact discover that sufferers have an unusual gene expression and is currently working on gene therapy as a cure for the illness:

    “A REMEDY for the debilitating condition ME, once derided as “yuppie flu”, could be available in as little as a year after groundbreaking Scottish research. A Glasgow University team has discovered a malfunction in sufferers’ genes which appears to prompt their immune system to “work overtime”, making patients extremely tired.

    The lead scientist, Dr John Gow, said a cocktail of drugs could be used to “turn off” the genes, allowing patients to live “a fairly normal” life.

    The university has already patented the genes involved as a means of diagnosing the condition, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), quickly and cheaply. The disease has gradually gained acceptance and in 2002, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer for England and Wales, said that “CFS/ME should be classed alongside other diseases such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease”.

    Dr Gow, a senior lecturer in clinical neuroscience at the university, mapped all 33,000 genes in CFS sufferers and then compared them with the genes of healthy people. Dr Gow, who works at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital, said they found CFS sufferers had a particular kind of “unusual gene expression”.

    “This means the genes are switched on or off at an inappropriate time. We have identified a number of genes that are wrongly switched on,” he said. “It looks like the immune system is working overtime when it shouldn’t be, making the patient tired.”

    Every cell in the body contains the same 33,000 genes, but only about 10 per cent are actually doing anything at any one time. There are genes related to the production of liver proteins in brain cells, for example, but these should be “switched off” because liver protein is not required in the brain.

    Drugs can be used to control chemical pathways that act on the genes and Dr Gow said he had identified ones that could be used to regulate the over-active genes in CFS. These drugs are already on the market for other conditions and could be given to CFS sufferers within a year if tests prove positive. Dr Gow stressed that the drugs had to be tested in practice. “This is not a major breakthrough yet, but it is a big step forward,” he said.

    A prototype diagnostic testing kit has already been developed which would give doctors “a yes or no answer” about whether someone had the condition. Currently it takes about six months to make a diagnosis…….. ”

    With regard to mrscolex’s comments who stated, with a hint of sarcasm, “This isn’t just a mockery of people who are claiming to be constantly tired, its a mockery of the system of doctors who give them legitimacy by not telling them to get off their ass.” I don’t know what it’s like in the States, but over here, the Doctors are very harsh. When/if given a diagnosis of C.F.S/M.E, it isn’t something you want to have. It’s not just enough to feel the worst you’ve ever felt in your entire life … (and it isn’t just about feeling tired by the way), but you have to endure whispers in corridors, people talking behind your back, people telling you there’s nothing wrong with you; that it’s all in your head; that you just have to try harder. I was an athlete! An Honour student – I was in all the school plays! I couldn’t possibly have tried any harder! I kept pushing on and on and on, yes, like the Duracell bunny, through the pain and the fatigue, not telling anyone, until the day my legs just couldn’t hold me up any longer. You couldn’t pin the word lazy on me. If the Doctor gives you this diagnosis, and you’re not “truly” sick, then you’re a dumbass for taking it. You’re a glutten for punishment. It’s a double punishment to have C.F.S. Coz trust me, if you HAVE this illness you are sick (at my sickest, I was bedbound. After that, I couldn’t walk for two years), Sick and misunderstood.

  15. TamsiniLinguini says:

    I must admit, I have read this thread with great interest. Some interesting points made about not only the (possible and unintentional) ambiguity of the ad, but also of the increasing suicide rates – the arguments for which truly are worth some thought. I, myself, would automatically have rasied the issue of the family unit having broken down over the years, leaving teens and young adults no longer having the support of the parental unit in times of crisis. However, if deveoping countries have also experienced a rise in suicide rates, this may not be the cause. (Unless of-course, there is a cause in developing countries than our own?)

    I would also like to add, having been unwell with CFS (known as M.E in the UK), since I was 15, that unlike the comment that as yet there has been no evidence that it truly exists, that aside from sophisticated brain scans showing a reduction in the bloodflow to the brain, in CFS patients, in the summer of 2005, a Dr John W. Gow of Glasgow University did in fact discover that sufferers have an unusual gene expression and is currently working on gene therapy as a cure for the illness:

    “A REMEDY for the debilitating condition ME, once derided as “yuppie flu”, could be available in as little as a year after groundbreaking Scottish research. A Glasgow University team has discovered a malfunction in sufferers’ genes which appears to prompt their immune system to “work overtime”, making patients extremely tired.

    The lead scientist, Dr John Gow, said a cocktail of drugs could be used to “turn off” the genes, allowing patients to live “a fairly normal” life.

    The university has already patented the genes involved as a means of diagnosing the condition, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), quickly and cheaply. The disease has gradually gained acceptance and in 2002, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer for England and Wales, said that “CFS/ME should be classed alongside other diseases such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease”.

    Dr Gow, a senior lecturer in clinical neuroscience at the university, mapped all 33,000 genes in CFS sufferers and then compared them with the genes of healthy people. Dr Gow, who works at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital, said they found CFS sufferers had a particular kind of “unusual gene expression”.

    “This means the genes are switched on or off at an inappropriate time. We have identified a number of genes that are wrongly switched on,” he said. “It looks like the immune system is working overtime when it shouldn’t be, making the patient tired.”

    Every cell in the body contains the same 33,000 genes, but only about 10 per cent are actually doing anything at any one time. There are genes related to the production of liver proteins in brain cells, for example, but these should be “switched off” because liver protein is not required in the brain.

    Drugs can be used to control chemical pathways that act on the genes and Dr Gow said he had identified ones that could be used to regulate the over-active genes in CFS. These drugs are already on the market for other conditions and could be given to CFS sufferers within a year if tests prove positive.

    Dr Gow stressed that the drugs had to be tested in practice. “This is not a major breakthrough yet, but it is a big step forward,” he said.

    A prototype diagnostic testing kit has already been developed which would give doctors “a yes or no answer” about whether someone had the condition. Currently it takes about six months to make a diagnosis…….. ”

    With regard to mrscolex’s comments who stated, with a hint of sarcasm, “This isn’t just a mockery of people who are claiming to be constantly tired, its a mockery of the system of doctors who give them legitimacy by not telling them to get off their ass.” I don’t know what it’s like in the States, but over here, the Doctors are very harsh. When/if given a diagnosis of C.F.S/M.E, it isn’t something you want to have. It’s not just enough to feel the worst you’ve ever felt in your entire life … but you have to endure whispers in corridors, stares, people talking behind your back, people telling you there’s nothing wrong with you, that it’s all in your head, that you just have to try harder. But I was an athlete! An Honour student – I was in all the school plays. I couldn’t possibly have tried any harder. I kept pushing on and on and on, through the pain and the fatigue, until the day my legs just couldn’t hold me up any longer. You couldn’t pin the word lazy on me. If the Doctor gives you this diagnosis, and you’re not “truly” sick, then you’re a dumbass. You’re a glutten for punishment. It’s a double punishment to have C.F.S. Coz trust me, if you HAVE this illness (at my sickest, I was bedbound. After that, I couldn’t walk for two years), you’re sick. Sick and misunderstood.