MARINA DEL REY, CA: Execs at Fischer & Partners responded angrily last week to a Wall Street Journal report that the firm and client Aspect Medical Systems engaged in a misleading campaign to push a device that monitors the effects of anesthesia.
MARINA DEL REY, CA: Execs at Fischer & Partners responded angrily
last week to a Wall Street Journal report that the firm and client
Aspect Medical Systems engaged in a misleading campaign to push a device
that monitors the effects of anesthesia.
The article claimed that instead of highlighting the device, known as
the BIS monitor, the campaign ’raised public concern about
intraoperative awareness’ - a rare phenomenon in which a patient
prematurely rouses from unconsciousness because of low anesthetic
The WSJ also reported that Aspect’s ’unusual and aggressive’ marketing
efforts misled hospitals and patients into thinking that the BIS monitor
could prevent intraoperative awareness.
’We weren’t pitching intraoperative awareness, but the technology (of
the monitor) and what can occur with too little or too much anesthesia,’
said Fischer VP Lorie Fiber. ’The article (implies) that we were only
promoting an intraoperative awareness message, and that’s just not
While articles in medical publications focused on faster patient
recovery after use of the BIS monitor, consumer publications instead
focused on the issue of intraoperative awareness. Fiber acknowledged
that coverage in Time gave rise to ’a swell of interest’ on the
intraoperative awareness issue, but she maintained that subsequent
pitches to the media did not exploit the success of that angle.
’We were very mindful of not scaring people,’ Fiber said.
Bob Frause, chair of the PRSA’s Board of Ethics & Professional
Standards, said that Fischer’s alleged focus on intraoperative awareness
was not out of the norm. ’Targeting and playing on demographic and
psychographic fears to make people respond to whatever the message is -
that’s done by every PR and advertising guy,’ he said. ’If the company
was giving out erroneous information and it was blatantly not true,
that’s where the ethical dilemma would come in.’