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Like our toothbrushes? Then try our 3D ultrasound

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 21 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:984
  1. Deborah Cohen, editor, studentBMJ (

    Multislice computed tomographic scanners and 3D ultrasounds are not usually the type of electronic products that you would expect to see sitting neatly alongside electric toothbrushes, razors, DVDs, and flatscreen televisions in your average high street store. But they have been coupled together as part of a new €80m (£55.5m; $100m) advertising campaign (broadcast, print, online, and billboard) to bring one company's “message” to customers around the world. The advertisements, for products from Philips Medical Systems, are running in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and China.

    The advertising package, which in the United Kingdom has been aired on the terrestrial Channel Four and the free-to-view digital channel ITV2, starts by promoting a toothbrush or another everyday consumer appliance made by Philips. Different adverts for seemingly unrelated items follow and then, within the same break, an advert for Philips Medical Systems appears. One of these features a pregnant woman undergoing an ultrasound with a 3D machine. Rather than a grainy picture of something difficult to interpret, the audience sees a colour graphic of a perfectly formed fetus. Another shows a person receiving a …

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