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Deutsches Technikmuseum - March

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:

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Exhibit of the Month March 2018

Photo: On display is a service comprising a teapot and warmer, a sugar bowl and a creamer. It is made of white porcelain and is decorated with the "Yasmin" logo and lettering.

Marketing in the waiting-room: This service served as a promotional item for the "Yasmin" birth control pill. © SDTB / photo: H.-F. Lachmann

"Yasmin" tea service, between 2000 and 2011

Since the 1960s the detachment of sexuality from conception has been facilitated by oral contraceptive pills, which are often referred to as birth control pills. Since that time women have been able to independently determine for themselves whether they can become pregnant or not.

Further improvements made by the pharmaceutical industry have since led to ever more effective preparations with lower levels of active ingredients. The hormonal content of the "fourth generation" of the pill causes fewer such unpleasant side effects as weight gain than its predecessors and can even alleviate other problems like acne. Such attributes are naturally played up in any marketing campaigns and pills such as those from the brand Yasmin are designed to appeal mainly to younger women.

Photo: In the "Yaz" transparent blister pack there are 28 individually wrapped tablets. The pack has the lettering "Yaz" on it as well as the start instructions, arrows and info about the positioning of the sticker indicating the days of the week.

The birth control pill "Yaz" contains the same active ingredients as "Yasmin". This doctor’s sample from a patient who was unsettled by media reports is shown in the "Pills and Pipettes" exhibition. © SDTB / Archiv.

Problematic advertising gift

It is not legal, however, to advertise prescription drugs in Europe. Customers are thus reached through doctors’ offices - a practice that Yasmin has also employed since its introduction in the year 2000. The company Schering thus distributed this tea service as a promotional device.

It is possible to accept this as part of an ordinary marketing strategy. Unfortunately, the existence of numerous legal disputes over different cases of thromboembolism throw a much more sinister light on the matter. The cases, which were reported in the media and unsettled many customers, were allegedly linked to an increased risk of thrombosis attributed to Yasmin’s active substances.

This apparently simple object thus engenders unexpected emotional responses - it is therefore anything but a simple giveaway.