WWWTP? – Nitpicking a Pharma Sourcing Ad

January 31st, 2012

It always surprises me how companies will happily spend thousands of dollars to run printed ads with inventories of chemical structures. These structures are unsearchable by computer, and is there anyone out there who thumbs through science magazines on the lookout for fine chemicals?

“Wow! That 1-bromo-3-methylbutane looks fantastic. I’m calling these guys right away!”

Maybe such a response has occurred once or twice in the past decade, but this approach seems like a shot in the dark. I imagine most people who find themselves in need of 1-bromo-3-methylbutane turn to the catalog of their favorite vendor, the Available Chemicals Directory, or Google.

While the following ad certainly fits the profile (C&EN, 1/23/2012, p. 31), it bothered me for a different reason:

Ad for Global Pharma Sourcing LLC in Jan 31 2012 Chemical and Engineering News

I can’t understand why you would go through the trouble of paying thousands of dollars to run an ad and not bother to proofread the thing. Let’s start from the bottom right corner and move clockwise, shall we?

1. Coumarin. Great. I have no problems here.

2. O-Anisaldehyde. This is a rather common error in style, but it is still an error. If the “O” is meant to signify “ortho,” then it should be written as a lowercase letter, even if it begins a sentence. It should also be italicized. A capital “O” written like that in a name usually signifies substitution on oxygen.

3. 2-Hydroxy-benzaldehyde. There are two problems here. First, you don’t need a hyphen after “Hydroxy.” Second, if you are going to use common names like o-anisaldehyde, then why not call salicylaldehyde by its common name? Alternately, you could have called the previous compound “2-methoxybenzaldehyde.” Basically, why not be consistent?

4. 5-Helo-salicylic aldehyde. <Facepalm> Now I guess it’s OK to use a common name? More importantly, what the hell is a “helo” group? The period after the “Cl” is also a nice touch.

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. If I were in the advertising department at GPhS, I’d take $200 from the budget to buy a copy of the ACS Style Guide and pay for an eye exam.

When the quality of your advertisements is this poor, do you think people might question the quality of your other products?

Just a thought.


20 Responses to “WWWTP? – Nitpicking a Pharma Sourcing Ad”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    “No organochlorine!” in 5-helo-salicylic aldehyde (X = Cl.)?

  2. Ricola Says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAH, this post is hilarious, ftw!

  3. excimer Says:

    I hope the 5-chloro-salicylic aldehyde has no organochlorine in it as advertised

  4. SpeedyGonzales Says:

    I guess no extraneous organochlorine is what they mean, which means they might be making their aldehydes by a Reimer–Tiemann reaction. And if their advertisment quality control is indicitative of their product quality control, then I would probablly be running a Reimer–Tiemann reaction too rather than buying from them :p

  5. CR Says:

    Call me crazy, but I do take a quick look at these types of ads. Especially those half-page or full page ads in C&EN that show a large amount of building blocks (boronic acids, etc.). I don’t usually peruse chemical catalogs, so when they appear in C&EN I usually give a good look just to see what my be available for our building block library.

    I do like the exclamation point after the No organochlorine! Reminds me of the Simpson’s Krusty O’s Cereal – Reduced Mercury!

  6. milkshake Says:

    The best add I saw in C&EN was from indian custom synthesis company with “Experts” in the company name. They advertised N-iodosuccinimide (with a structure included in the add) and the N-iodosuccinimide structure in their add had a 6-membered ring…

  7. CR Says:

    Well, if a 5-membered ring works, a 6- has to be better.

    Again, back to The Simpsons:

    Homer: come to my BBBQ.
    Bart: what’s the extra B for?
    Homer: BYOBB
    Bart: what’s ‘that’ extra B for?
    Homer: that’s a typo.

  8. Paul Says:

    @Milkshake: That was the best! The ad was about one compound and they flubbed it. Classic.

    Here is the old post (just copied it into the archive):
    http://blog.chembark.com/2007/07/04/mistakes-and-mnemonics/

  9. wolfie Says:

    Only the ones from Harvord. And only those who have not yet become a member of the system. I myself chose to retreat to Arthur, Illinois.

  10. wolfie Says:

    Although they have internet connection there, meanwhile.

  11. See Arr Oh Says:

    @CR, @ChemBark – I, too, am guilty of perusing the C&E ads for potential structures. Actually saved my bacon, once. I was looking for a small set of commercially available alkynes to try in a reaction, and happened upon one of those Aldrich full-pagers.

    So, spelling and drawing errors aside, sometimes these ads trigger useful thoughts!

  12. CR Says:

    @See Arr Oh:

    It’s really a two-fer. Sometimes you find useful compounds, other times it’s comedy relief.

  13. See Arr Oh Says:

    @CR – Agreed.

    Also: “My bones, so brittle! But I always drink my….MALK?”

    Jagged-metal Krusty-O,
    See Arr Oh

  14. CR Says:

    Everyone needs their Vitamin R.

  15. James Says:

    News Report: “isopropyl alcohol and tetrahydrofuran mixed together cause fire in UND lab” http://www.wday.com/event/article/id/12107/publisher_ID/30/

  16. Paul Says:

    The reaction produced “exothermic heat”.

  17. CR Says:

    That’s the worst kind of heat.

  18. MPH Says:

    I’m looking for a summer intern in synthetic organic chemistry. If you are in your second, third, or fourth year of undergrad, send me your CV and research summary (what you have done before). It’s at a major pharmaceutical company in San Francisco bay area.
    MPHchemistry – at – gmail – dot – com

  19. Caleb Dyer Says:

    Hilarious!!!! I agree with Ricola: FTW, Paul!

  20. Some Thoughts on Ads | ChemBark Says:

    […] no. And it is through such a lens that I have wondered want other advertisers hope to achieve with expensive print ads—especially those who list […]


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