When It Starts to Hurt, The Q-Tip is in Too Far

We have Reader’s Digest delivered to our home every month. Yes, it’s true. No, we do not have elderly borders who need bathroom reading material. It’s for us.

Get past it.

Every month RD (as Reader’s Digest’s hip, trendy, 55 and under readers like to refer to it) comes encased in a clear wrapper as to best hold in miniature flyers touting the merits of Medic Alert bracelets and ‘Kittens of the World’ collector plates. Recently, someone in RD’s marketing department realized that this thin piece of plastic was the only piece of real estate left in the magazine that didn’t contain advertising or an article on how to craft a living will out of a bar napkin and a lock of your grandson’s hair.

My wife and I recently noticed one of these advertisements on the wrapper (pictured to the right) for a product called Debrox. Apparently, Debrox is the #1 Doctor & Pharmacist recommended brand for earwax removal.

I was intrigued.

After investigating Debrox’s web site, it turns out that Debrox is brought to us by the friendly folks at GlaxoSmithKline, makers of fine products such as the hilariously-named Flonase. The Debrox site clearly states in a bold and clearly definitive tag line, “Debrox Cleans Ears.”

You know, I thought Q-Tips did that.

Honestly, is there a delibitating ear wax epidemic out there? I’m certainly not privy to how drug companies do business, but if I’ve ever learned anything from cartoons, I’m pretty sure it has something to do with big sacks with dollar signs painted on the side ending up on GlaxoSmithKline’s executive’s desks. There must be a market for chronic ear wax removal that even the craftiest cotton swab can’t tackle.

Having sat next to my Uncle Morty (an avid RD reader) and his ears at Thanksgiving dinner for the past 7 years, the good folks at Glaxo can rest assured that they’ve hit their target demographic with their marketing campaign.


Many people have tried to accurately capture the essence that is Brian, but this much is known to be true: he has dutifully paid the hosting bill for Ranzino.com since 2001.


  1. Q-tips do clean ears but Debrox is used for people who make excessive ear wax and is so thick and gooey that they cant get it out with out help!!normal ear wax is yellow my sons in brown and not from lack of cleaning we clean them every night.

    my son is an excessive ear wax producer and had tons of ear infections because if it. now we use the Debrox once a month and no ear infections so for normal ears Q-tips are fine but for my son its Debrox to hep get them really clean!!!

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