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As part of its "Disinfect to Protect" campaign, Lysol recently launched a promotion that rebates families $5 for visiting their pediatricians. Now, I've heard everything. By buying two different Lysol products, you can now save 5 bucks on your kid's next annual check-up.

OK, call it my socialized medicine sensibility as a Canadian living in the U.S., but to me, this doesn't sit right. It brings down the practice of health care to a low point. In fact, I discovered this rebate promotion in the booklet of coupons inserted in my Sunday paper. You know, the ones that save you 50 cents and $1 on things like shampoo, frozen food and makeup. Yikes.
Lysol is advertised as a "#1 pediatrician recommended brand," whatever that means. I couldn't find anything on the Lysol Web site that indicates any endorsement from any bona fide pediatric organization.
Now, don't get me wrong. I've used Lysol products, and for the most part, I expect that they work well, although I don't have a microscope to prove that I've killed any bacteria.
I realize that health care costs in the U.S. have spiralled. With so many families uninsured or under-insured, maybe the $5 rebate is a blessing for lower income families. But here are the holes I see in this promotion:
1. What of the fact that the cost of the two Lysol products may exceed $5 and store-brand equivalents can cost substantially less? Where's the savings then?
2. The paradox here is that doctors have warned us that by using too many disinfectants, our kids have reduced their ability to build natural antibodies on their own, thus preventing them from fighting off bigger germs and super bugs. So the pediatrician recommendation is somewhat confusing to me.
3. Doctors may not have even been aware of this promotion or sanctioned it. All they need to do is provide a recipt for a check-up and the consumer must then meet the criteria for rebate:
- Purchase any TWO (2) different LYSOL® Products between 6/24/07 and 12/31/07.
- Take your child to a doctor's office for a check-up between 6/24/07 and 12/31/07.
- Complete the LYSOL® Pediatrician $5 Reward Offer Form.
- Mail in the Offer Form along with original receipts from your LYSOL® products' purchase and a copy of your doctor's office visit receipt or bill.
Overall, I think this promotion reduces pediatricians to the equivalent of grocery stores hawking discounts on everyday commodities. And, even though this is spearheaded by a CPG company, it inadvertantly belittles the medical profession in my opinion.
What are your thoughts?

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Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

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