Mother Knows Best

MotherKnowsBest3(Rest in peace, Barbara Billingsley…)

By Kimberly Reyes (@CommDuCoeur)

We learned something from reading the Wall Street Journals recaps from the recent TEDMED conference – well, we learned a lot, but in this case, it was a point that wasnt in itself world-changing, but seemed to mean an awful lot in a few interesting ways.

You know, of course, Dr. Oz – famed author and television personality, advisor to millions? Well, his children dont get flu shots. But heres the interesting thing. Its not because he feels that thats whats best for the children. He advocates for getting a flu shot – and even actually got his own on his show, backing up his belief in their utility. Dr. Oz likes flu shots. But his wife, Lisa, doesnt – and so the kids dont get the shot.

We pointed out recently the intelligence of marketing to women, and this is yet another example of it in practice. Eighty percent of the time, women, not men, are making the choices behind healthcare. Eighty percent is huge – in a drug, it would be celebratory success; in gambling, it would be a pretty safe bet. Really, what this little vignette reminds me, is that for all intents and purposes, anyone creating marketing should ignore men entirely. Thats a bold statement, but the data backs me up…and certainly it sounds like Dr. Oz would!

The second point this brings up is the phenomenon of bringing your healthcare knowledge home. We work in an interesting industry. If we made industrial drills or sold priceless antiques or studied ancient languages, we wouldnt be able to make much daily practical use of our knowledge, however excellent we were at our jobs. But we work in healthcare: we live and breathe wellness and how to get there. How much has that influenced all of your conversations with families and friends? I know it plays into mine all the time. And how much must it influence the Ozs conversations about their own health and healthcare?

Finally, and more politically, its clear that the topic of vaccines is still controversial. There are huge camps on both sides of the issue, and a huge variation within each camp. The flu vaccine prevents what is normally a milder disease than that which can be prevented by other vaccines, of course, so the debate around it tends to be correspondingly less militant. But even here, it simmers on. And if even the children of one of the most famous doctors in the country are not getting a shot that the CDC and AMA recommends – thats certainly only an anecdote, but one that raises an eyebrow.



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