Adfucks: Concerta and Vyvanse (Set)

This is something a little different and a lot more personal; I’m doing a set of three ads in the same Adfuck. To articulate why, I’m pasting here the comment I wrote on Belén Fernández’ AlterNet article on the over-mediation of Americans:

“Sra. Fernández, every once in a while someone writes an article that has me periodically shooting my finger into the air and loudly exclaiming “THIS”; yours was one of them! I am a 24-year-old American girl living with (legitimate) ADD, OCD and clinical depression. My entire life, I have been made to feel like there is something wrong with me. While my mental illnesses are a tangible physical problem—as in, if we woke up tomorrow to a “perfect”, non-isolating society, I would still be “sick”–a hugely significant contributor is my living in this country and absolute “disconnect from the human condition”.

My childhood experience of stigmatization had a silver lining, though—I got angry, and began to educate myself. I wanted to know why I was miserable in our society, what were the driving forces causing people to obey the powers that be, and how we had come to this point. I started reading up on history, Marxism, feminism, environmentalism and never looked back.

Today I am a Socialist activist, still trying to make my way in the world while keeping my mental illnesses in check. There are good days and bad days, but what keeps me going is knowing that there are others like yourself providing critical analysis of these issues. The more we educate ourselves and each other, the less isolated we will become… at least, that’s my hope. Thank you for the amazing article!”

(Uh, also, can we please talk about the fact that all three kids in these ads who need to be “subdued” are children of color?!?)

The originals are under the cut, to save space.

Bibliography and other articles to check out:




Original images:

ad concerta

ad vyvanse 3

ad vyvanse 4

Improved images:

adfuck concerta

adfuck vyvanse 1

adfuck vyvanse 2

1. Original image: Text overlaid over a young Black boy in a baseball cap and uniform, smiling but clearly a little zoned out—there is a dullness to his eyes and expression that suggest he has been drugged into submission/docility. [It’s really fucking hard for me to remain objective here when describing these ads; I’m guessing this child is just a model but there is this certain “zombified” look that you come to recognize in people who are on amphetamines.]

Text at top: “ADHD does not take a summer break.” The following after “Little league” are written on baseballs, horizontally: “Little league → Stays on CONCERTA → Listens to coach → Focuses during batting practice → Ice cream party with team.” Another map of words stems vertically from the same “Little league” symbolizing a downward progression: “Can’t find glove again → Picks dandelions in outfield → Annoys teammates → Time to ask the doctor about staying on CONCERTA through the summer?”


-CONCERTA can help improve your child’s focus

-CONCERTA improves social interactions as reported by teachers and parents

-90% of parents surveyed said their child is more likely to have positive interactions with friends and family when taking CONCERTA on weekends and over the summer*

-CONCERTA has over 8 years of proven safety

[Safety information and legal jargon below.]

Improved image:

The same ad overlaid with handwritten text: “What would you think of this idea. Identify two million kids who have the personality and inclination to be great hunters. Then drug them throughout their childhood to block those tendencies so they become obedient little drones.”

2. Original image:

A smiling Black woman helps her smiling son with his homework. Text at top: “Vyvanse: Consistent symptom control for ADHD.” Text over picture: “Consistent Colin through the day, even through homework.” Text below picture: Colin’s ADHD symptoms weren’t controlled throughout his busy day. His teachers, coaches and even his friends didn’t know the Colin I know. Vyvanse has been shown to provide consistent ADHD symptom control from morning, through homework and family time, for up to 12 hours. In a Vyvanse clinical study, parents reported ADHD symptom control at approximately 10:00 am, 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm, demonstrating consistent symptom control. I wish others could see the child I see.” [Safety information and legal jargon below.]

Improved image: The same ad with handwritten text overlaid, continued from previous Adfuck image: “That’s pretty much what’s been going on for the last 10-15 years. The first person to describe children with [A]ttention [D]eficit [D]isorder as “hunters in a farmers[‘] world” was Thom Hartmann, author of over a dozen books on A.D.D. and ADHD. Since then, Johns Hopkins researchers have reiterated this theory that kids and adults with Attention [D]eficit [D]isorder have characteristics that work very well for hunters and not very well for farmers. And let[‘]s face it, teachers and administrators in the average school classroom want neat, organized, docile, neatly lined up in a row farmer types, not free-ranging, roving, intense when on the track of game, hunters.”

3. Original image: A Black girl with long perfect-looking curly hair in a headband wearing in a purple silk dress smiles as she plays the violin or viola. Text at top: “Vyvanse: Now 3 million prescriptions filled for ADHD. Consistent Cara throughout the day, even at 6 PM.” Text in middle: “When Cara’s ADHD symptoms are consistently controlled, she can focus on her lessons so others can see the child I see. Vyvanse has been shown to provide significant symptom control for up to 12 hours from morning through homework and family time.” [Safety information and legal jargon below.]

Improved image: Original ad with handwritten text overlaid: “So, the pharmaceutical companies came up with a multi-billion dollar profit solution. Drug these millions of kids. Turn them into obedient, neat and organized little farmers who pay attention to boring teachers, who sit quietly, who paint inside the lines, who don’t wander off the beaten path. The US consumes more Ritalin, the most commonly prescribed ADHD stimulant drug, than all the rest of the world combined. –Rob Kall, Two Million Customers = Good Business = Two Million Kids Drugged on Stimulant Medications


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