Livin' on the MDedge

Selfie hate, emoji love, and sexy lichen


Here, now, finally, is some news about a survey. The good folks at Crestline – whose custom-imprinted promotional products “bring your logo to life!” – asked 1,630 U.S. residents about “America’s Most Memorable Mascots.” The respondents were asked to identify and rate 82 characters representing the best of American marketing, including Colonel Sanders, Little Debbie, Chuck E. Cheese, and the Aflac duck.

In a sweep of epic proportions, the top ranking in each of five measures – least likable, least persuasive, least trustworthy, most annoying, and most creepy – went to the same character: Mr. Mucus, the face of the Mucinex brand.

This Mr. Mucus, who lives on the writer's desk, declined to comment. Lucas Franki/MDedge News

This Mr. Mucus, who lives on the writer's desk, declined to comment.

After hearing the big news, Elyse Altabet, marketing director for Mucinex, had this to say to FiercePharma: “We agree that Mr. Mucus is thoroughly annoying – after all, he is the personification of your most annoying cold. Far from being our mascot, though, it is our sole goal to help get rid of him whenever he tries to invade our lives. Which is why every American knows that when sick happens, we reach for Mucinex.”

Not so sexy after all

Another day, another organism being marketed as an aphrodisiac thanks to some dubious science, according to a report from the New Zealand Newsroom. To be fair, though, advertising a product called sexy pavement lichen as a natural male enhancement isn’t the worst-sounding idea in the world.

Old cobblestones with lichen carstenbrandt/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The sexy lichen in question, Xanthoparmelia scabrosa, most commonly found in Australia and New Zealand, isn’t that much more attractive than any other lichen. It’s more of a nuisance than anything else, as it loves to grow in pavement and makes roads covered in the stuff dangerously slick when it rains.

As for any benefit as an aphrodisiac, the plant does contain a PDE5 inhibitor, which can inhibit an enzyme causing impotence but may also be toxic on its own. Plus you’ll be getting a dose of such heavy metals as copper, lead, cadmium, mercury, and basically anything else you’d find in asphalt.

The “legitimate” business people involved claim to grind up the actual lichen, and their product is then marketed as an ancient Chinese therapy for erectile dysfunction. A thriving market has been built around sexy pavement lichen, with thousands of tons available on websites such as Alibaba at the premium price of $100 per kg.

In reality, people are buying a combination of Viagra and grass clippings, as harvesting that much lichen would be both unfeasible and unsustainable, according to the Newsroom report. Sadly, it seems that “legitimate” business people have once again let us all down. But hey, at least they’re not selling poisonous lichen.

Next Article: