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Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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« How Did the Big Deals of 2007 Work Out? | Main | Caloric Restriction Flops? »

August 29, 2012

Absolutely The Worst Ad For a Rota-Vap You Will See Today

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Posted by Derek

Here you go, from IKA. If you can make it up to about 1:52 or so, that's when the traditional hard-sell starts. But up until then, it's pretty painful, and not least because the model playing a chemist is evaporating a bright green solution (sure thing) and the receiving flask is light blue (oh yeah). More unlikely colors are to be seen in the sales-pitch part of the video that follows, though, but at least there's no acting, or whatever that's supposed to be. Yikes.

Comments (48) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Chemical News


1. Calvin on August 29, 2012 9:32 AM writes...

Ahhh zee Germans and their hilarious sense of humour.

I hope.

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2. Anonymous on August 29, 2012 9:38 AM writes...

At 2:00, the (green) solution starts bumping before the operator can start the rotation.

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3. Charlie Murphy on August 29, 2012 9:57 AM writes...

rotary evaporation and sexual harassment, all in one lab!

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4. Nick K on August 29, 2012 10:35 AM writes...

Absolutely cringeworthy. I had to watch it through a gap between my fingers. Good to see male organic chemists depicted as creepy losers.

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5. Anonymous #2 on August 29, 2012 10:41 AM writes...

3:40, blue kool-aid on tap on the fumehood? Sign me up!

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6. I'm Sold on August 29, 2012 10:53 AM writes...

Are you kidding me? That was F'ing Awesome! Lighten up a bit kids.

The chick looks kinda familiar for some reason...

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7. Henry's cat is sold as well on August 29, 2012 10:59 AM writes...

Maybe I've been enjoying too much 'personal time' lately, but I swear she started seductively polishing the condenser and then in the very next shot suggests she is about to teabag the flask of green stuff...

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8. InfMP on August 29, 2012 11:08 AM writes...

very cheap and long warranty, but haven't seen one go 1 year without big problems. lots of complaints.

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9. nitrosonium on August 29, 2012 11:19 AM writes...

she looks like every female organic chemists i've ever seen!

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10. rotocool on August 29, 2012 11:19 AM writes...

I thought it was pretty funny(in a good way). The female model did look like Kristen Wiig (bridesmaids, Paul). I have a 1973 Labconco catalogue with models in mini skirts posing with fume hoods and culture hoods. things have changed

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11. TeddyZ on August 29, 2012 11:22 AM writes...

At the recent ACS meeting here in Philly, IKA had a motorcycle at their booth and a 6'+ blonde model who would sit on the back of it and have your picture taken with you...
I didn't realize the ACS mtg had become a car show.

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12. Anonymous on August 29, 2012 11:40 AM writes...

At 0:22, it looks like he's trying to impress her with the dry ice. Hasn't everybody tried that?

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13. Secondaire on August 29, 2012 11:50 AM writes...

# 11: You said it before I did. I am not surprised by their marketing techniques at all.

Although the motorcycle was totally awesome. A BMW, was it?

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14. Rikkidont lose that Chemist on August 29, 2012 11:55 AM writes...

I saw them at the ACS with ultra-thin models striking glamour poses on an ultra-sexy BMW motorcycle. We felt bad for them and was going to send them over some sandwiches, to put some meat on their bones.

They could have been selling vibrators instead of hot plates.

Show some decorum and common sense ACS and vendors.

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15. CMCguy on August 29, 2012 12:01 PM writes...

I agree with #6 I'm Sold. Sure was over the top Fantasy vs. real lab lifes and plays on various stereotypes but did demo an impressive array of various routine and non-routine functionality that I would guess most people would wish for at certain stages when using a rot-vap (I didn't see a bottom drain though so can try to recover your compound after dropping the flask into the bath!). Face it pretty much most equipment and activity in labs are boringly dull to watch/perform, especially to those that are daily exercised extended for long time, and therefore should appreciate the levity introduced here.

Often posters here bitch about Marketing people and I too wonder about them at times but theirs is a tough job that can be frustrating unproductive but other times critical to success of what comes out of the labs (however still envy their Rewards System vs normal R&D types).

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16. John Wayne on August 29, 2012 12:24 PM writes...

If they are trying to sell rotovaps to some people in Human Resources, that was a great commercial. If they are trying to sell rotovaps to chemists, it was a hilariously bad advertisement.

At the risk of putting some potentially useful information in this topic, I bought one of those rotovaps and it distinctly average with a huge footprint.

I am currently using a Heidolph rotovap with a Vario vacuum pump and it is the best setup I have ever had.

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17. anon on August 29, 2012 12:26 PM writes...

"very cheap and long warranty, but haven't seen one go 1 year without big problems. Lots of complaints"

Is this a review about the girl or about the rotovap?


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18. MTK on August 29, 2012 12:36 PM writes...

The ad seems to have worked.

We're talking about it.

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19. milkshaken on August 29, 2012 12:45 PM writes...

@9: she is an an orgasmic chemist

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20. Steve on August 29, 2012 12:45 PM writes...

I've had need to evaporate a solution with a similarly brilliant green colour - the compound I was making was a xanthone derived thioketone as I recall. But if the distillate is blue you've got a problem. I also don't recall it attracting that many 6 ft blondes if you get my meaning - it had a habit of spontaneous and smelly decomposition.

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21. anon2 on August 29, 2012 1:07 PM writes...

All about getting your attention, right? Seems to have worked.

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22. Imaging guy on August 29, 2012 1:11 PM writes...

Nature publishes a landmark 25 years trial concerning caloric restriction in monkey today.
"Calorie restriction falters in the long run".
What about the molecules that are supposed to work as caloric restriction mimetics?

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23. WCA on August 29, 2012 1:15 PM writes...

All about getting your attention, right? Seems to have worked.

Yes, but we are making fun of it for its ridiculousness. This isn't a beer commercial. The goal of any ad is to get us to buy the product, and it doesn't sound like anyone's jumping on that.

Their marketing folks must not realize just how cynical we chemists truly are. If they're going to go to such ridiculous lengths to advertise their equipment, it must not be very good.

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24. Jon on August 29, 2012 1:52 PM writes...

Hey, if we're taking ideas from beer commercials, I want a rotovap where part of it changes color when the vacuum is at the right amount.

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25. ARK on August 29, 2012 2:00 PM writes...

And I have to be the one to say that while they are all wearing lab coats and glasses, I did not see a single gloved hand...

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26. emjeff on August 29, 2012 2:01 PM writes...

She sure likes that condenser....

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27. Mutatis Mutandis on August 29, 2012 4:29 PM writes...

I take it as a satyrical variation on the traditional pretty-blonde-and-colorful-liquid form of advertising. Probably not intended for an American audience :-)

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28. You're wnong ! on August 29, 2012 4:38 PM writes...

She is rotavaping a plant extract of Matricaria chamomilla ( In this plant you have chamazulene (1,4-dimethyl-7-ethylazulene) in the essential oil which is a really cool looking blue volatile liquid-compound !

That's the point ;)

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29. Tom on August 29, 2012 6:39 PM writes...

@28, similar things have happened to me before. I was vapping down Azulene carboxylic acid (purple) and notice a blue colour in the distillate. Turns out the heat was decarboxylating my stuff and I was getting volatile azulene collecting in my trap.

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30. Thomas on August 29, 2012 7:37 PM writes...

25. ARK on August 29, 2012 2:00 PM writes...
And I have to be the one to say that while they are all wearing lab coats and glasses, I did not see a single gloved hand...

Really wield lab.

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31. Sisyphus on August 29, 2012 8:26 PM writes...

But can I control it with my iPhone? Is there an app for that?

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32. Ben Dover on August 30, 2012 1:27 AM writes...

She can polish my rota-vap any day ;)

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33. Mmol on August 30, 2012 6:45 AM writes...

I liked the ability to dial up everything.........temperatures, volumes etc. Ideal for a home whiskey still??

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34. The Iron Chemist on August 30, 2012 7:43 AM writes...

Nobody's wearing gloves, there are overflowing flasks without any sort of supervision. If I were EH&S, I'd shut down that lab in a heartbeat.

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35. LeeH on August 30, 2012 8:52 AM writes...

#26 - Actually, you're wrong. The goal of advertising is to NOTICE the product, which is why some advertising is so bizarre. The selling part comes after.

And Teddy, IKA is not the first at an ACS meeting to use models to attract us nerds. Surely you remember the "MOE" girls at the Chemical Computing Group booth. They disappeared 4 or 5 years ago after some (buzzkill) female scientists complained.

I think the ad was terrific. European ads are so much more tongue-in-cheek.

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36. ech on August 30, 2012 2:04 PM writes...

I'm not a chemist (degrees in Astronomy and EE), but I noticed that the green solution never decreased in volume, but produced an almost equal amount of blue stuff. How does it do that?

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37. Fail on August 30, 2012 3:06 PM writes...

@36, that's another fail…

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38. Tomcat on August 30, 2012 5:00 PM writes...

Nobody remembers when chemistry used to be that fun. . when daydreams and imagination could lead to great and profitable discoveries. From the ad's perspective chemistry is alive, full of possibilities. . . from yours: chemistry is dead. Shoot I wish I was born in India or China. They're the ones buying now.

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39. Matt B. on August 30, 2012 11:34 PM writes...

#38: Sexual harassment and wishing you were on vacation instead of in lab are supposed to be fun? We still get plenty of the latter.

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40. Slurpy on August 31, 2012 2:43 AM writes...

@39 Matt B.

Try being a woman working in a quality lab in a production plant sometime. You'll get plenty of the former, too.

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41. newnickname on August 31, 2012 7:52 AM writes...

@25: "And I have to be the one to say that while they are all wearing lab coats and glasses, I did not see a single gloved hand..."

I know that lots of current and former Cantabrigians read Pipeline. Anyone remember the famous graffiti around Main St / Central Square:

Pull This Change. Ungloved hand. No boundary.

(and "You too can live behind this wall.")

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42. James on September 1, 2012 5:04 PM writes...

Ugh! Cringe! But we have to be fair to the adverts makers, after all they are German.

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43. MoMo on September 2, 2012 5:48 PM writes...

YE GODS! What kind of crazy-mixed-up world are we living here anyway? Brits telling us we can get drugs on the market for 43$M after not ever contributing anything to the Pharma insdustry and now Germans selling us crappy equipment using sexual innuendo and harassment! I'm surprised they didnt have the solvent "bump" during their intimate exchange!

Next time I buy equipment it will not be IKA, nor has it ever been IKA!

First they start major World Wars and now they are dumbing down science in the name of business sales!

Germany and the UK- You are on MoMo's Watch List and now on notice!

Shape up or Stay Home!

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44. Nick K on September 3, 2012 2:07 AM writes...

#43 Momo: Donald W. Light of the absurd $43M figure for drug development is Professor of "Bioethics" (whatever that is) at the University of Pennsylvania.

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45. Anon on September 3, 2012 2:15 PM writes...

I think the woman needs to complain about sexual harassment.

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46. David S. on September 4, 2012 9:42 AM writes...

Pure genius. Best ad I've seen in ages. It is definitely satyrical, I cannot imagine they could have got so many things wrong unwittingly.

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47. anonny on September 9, 2012 8:09 PM writes...

I bet the dry ice trick would've worked in the long run, it was the tongue-flick-kissie maneuver that blew it.

Hey, why'd we have to see Mr. Buff unshirted, but never got a good glimpse of Miss Condenser Polisher below the shoulders? I thought the Euro ads favored the other sexes topless?

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48. Hans on September 10, 2012 4:59 PM writes...

Hmmm. Coloured solutions in my receiver flask usually make me curse aloud.

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