Toshiba ad offends clinical research group

Toshiba’s latest ad campaign portrays medical test subjects as freaks, an approach that puzzled the Association of Clinical Research Organizations.

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In fact, Toshiba American Medical Systems is looking for young people—ages 6 months to 18 years of age—to participate in a study to improve the MRI experience, according to ClinicalTrials.gov.

Yet a Toshiba ad campaign for its Satellite Ultrabook computer portrays people who take part in clinical trials as freaks. A young man—only slightly older than the people Toshiba Medical Systems seeks for its MRI study—is cast as a “professional medical test subject.” During the 30-second commercial, he is subjected to bizarre experiments that turn him into a purple-faced monster. At one point he refers to the subjects of clinical trials as “test monkeys.”

The campaign surprised and angered a number of people in the clinical research industry, who have voiced their complaints in the comments section of the commercial’s YouTube page. It also caught the attention of the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO), which represents companies that test medical products.

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