The Research & Development team at Lucrum Pharmaceuticals had a problem: The new drug they were testing worked well. It worked way too well.
The team had been developing a drug to relieve joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. They had decided the best way to do that was to suppress the body’s immune system.
And that’s where the whole “working way to well” thing came into play. A few dozen dead lab rats and a few dead human test subjects later, they realized the drug they’d concocted suppressed the immune system a bit more than they had planned. Like, suppressed it to the point where a speck of dust floating into one’s nostril would trigger an immediate and fatal infection. In other words: You took the pill, you pretty much died.
Now as far as problems went, the deaths were a bit of a shock, but manageable. The rats just got shoveled into the incinerator, and the humans? Well, they had all signed binding release forms holding Lucrum harmless from either criminal or civil liabilities, in perpetuity. And most of them were old; it WAS arthritis medicine being tested, after all. It was sad that they died, but them’s the breaks.
The REAL problem for Lucrum was the money they had dumped into this new drug. It was now looking as though they’d either have to cut their losses and call this one, or dump more cash down the R&D money hole in the hopes that they could mess around with the formula and come up with something more beneficial to society and their bottom line and less lethal to both of those things.
But where Lucrum’s R&D team saw problems, their Marketing team saw opportunities.
Opportunities to change the dialogue about suicide.
And so the Marketing team fanned out across the country with a clear message: Clearly suicide is not an option anyone WANTS, but if it has to be, why not do it with a prescription drug from a company you trust? Why not go peacefully (the notes from R&D had stated most patients went peacefully; there were some rats and humans who seemed to be consumed by “night terror”-type screaming for a few minutes before they stopped breathing, but that was rare–40% of the cases, tops) and cleanly with a pill, rather than violently and messily with a gun or knife or off a bridge?
Lucrum’s marketers took this message specifically to those with influence–the medical community, sure, but more importantly: Judges, lawmakers, lobbyists, pundits, even the odd religious leader. People who possessed the gift to absorb a well-crafted message, reiterate it in their own words, and get others to just see the sense of it.
That well-crafted message? The Marketing team’s slogan for the new drug: It’s YOUR suicide. TAKE CHARGE.
And that is exactly what happened: State after state took charge, passing right-to-die laws affirming the dignity of a comfortable, peaceful, pre-planned death.
Lucrum’s marketers even went to the die-hard “sanctity-of-lifers” and proposed their company’s new pill as a humane option for the death penalty. In a matter of months, Mortema (the pill’s newly-christened brand name) had replaced lethal injection as the number-one method of administering said death penalties.
Mortema ended up being the most profitable drug in Lucrum Pharmaceuticals’ history, not to mention profitable for all who had invested in the company when the Marketing team had shown them the projections of where Mortema could take the company’s stock.
All it took was a team of scrappy marketers who were able to show the public what death could do for them.