Friday, September 26, 2014

Red shirts and health do not mix - or do they?

Years ago, I worked with a very talented co-worker who absolutely hated Star Trek and Star Wars. So naturally, his co-workers started a collection to buy matching Star Trek shirts for him and his young son.

We specified that the Star Trek shirts be red in color.

(Despite this, we actually liked the guy and his son.)

At about this same time, AdRants wrote a post about a healthcare provider called Independent Healthcare. After mentioning that the health company had created a billboard that touted its "Redshirt Treatment," AdRants quoted from the Wikipedia definition for redshirt:

"A redshirt is a stock character, used frequently in science fiction but also in other genres, whose purpose is to die soon after being introduced, thus indicating the dangerous circumstances faced by the main characters. The term comes from the science fiction television series Star Trek, in which security officers wear red shirts and are often killed on missions under the aforementioned circumstances."

While "redshirt" has other meanings in sports and elsewhere, any reference to "redshirt" in a health context is going to conjure a particular image. Take Chris Kim A's recent reshare:

(Extra bonus if you say the words at the bottom like Shatner would say them.)

As with any Internet meme, you immediately wonder if it's outdated, or if it's even true at all. When I saw Chris' reshare, I not only found the 2007 AdRants post, but also found this site.

Yes, Independent Health is still using RedShirts as a service mark.

You’ll always get a response, not the runaround. Count on the RedShirts to get you the answer you need – when you need it. We also give you the tools to help you and your family live a healthier lifestyle. And we help make sure everything with your doctors is seamless.

Yeah - for Doctor McCoy. And we know what McCoy says after a redshirt screams.

"He's dead, Jim."
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