Friday, October 31, 2014

Will Proposition 46 suffer from an over-the-top advertising debacle?

A recent advertisement for Proposition 46 depicts a purported doctor in white coat adorned with casually strewn stethoscope over his shoulders sitting at a bar while ordering a drink, presumably other than ginger ale, while his pager goes off -- he's being called to the emergency room, no matter if he's in a drunken stupor. 

With this final flailing effort, Consumer Watchdog appears to have hurled its last lightning bolt in support of Proposition 46, the initiative to raise trial awards for pain and suffering in malpractice suits from $250,000 to $1.1 million. Consumer Watchdog, down to its last one million dollars, reportedly wagered the entire store on this last-ditch effort. It's a gamble that may have misfired.

While consumers are not as mesmerized by physicians as once they were, they're still not at a level where they believe that doctors in general have sunk to this level.  Physicians are still generally admired by the public. Physicians who fall short of public expectations suffer mightily in the court of public opinion and are subject to discipline by the medical board.  The public, more sophisticated than Consumer Watchdog realizes, are not easily misled. 

This latest ad depicting a presumably inebriated doctor on his way from the saloon to the emergency room may have overshot the mark and turned undecided Proposition 46 voters into NO votes on 46.  Consumer Watchdog reportedly depleted its campaign funds with this desperate advertisement and along with it sacrificed its own credibility.

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