Original or different, it’s often about having more sex

Many years ago I was very impressed by a story about a friend of mine’s sister-in-law who was won over by a suitor using a very unique approach. Initially, she was not bowled over by his wealth and status as a business owner and since he was not her only suitor he needed another strategy to get her attention. One day, he arrived at her workplace in a large lorry to invite her to lunch. She couldn’t say no since the lorry was blocking the entrance to the car park and the following year they were married.

This week, as the weather suddenly turned the corner to spring, I noticed that the male weaver birds were working with haste to secure their nesting spots in my garden.

There is a particular nesting position which I believe is the prime location, and every year this position is taken first. Weavers are very social birds and use various kinds of ‘media’ to get the attention of the opposite sex. The colourful males fluff themselves up and twitter, trying to attract the attention of passing females. There is a lot of competition from other birds tweeting at the same time and the pressure to build these nests quickly, is evident.

As the sleek, nubile females continued to arrive to inspect the nest in this prime spot, I was convinced it was going to be torn down. However, my comparison with other neatly manicured nests in less prime locations of the garden may have been misguided. This rather messy (on the outside) nest which resembles a shredded bonnet appears to have differentiated itself in an environment which has some fierce competition and it has endured.

In the world of pharmaceuticals, companies who invent or create new drugs refer to their products either as innovator or originator medicines and generic medicines as copies, clones or pseudo medicines. Most of us know about the ‘blue pill’ and the company who invented it and quite rightly, they should get due credit for uplifting ‘man’-kind.

Despite the fact that generic companies, in most cases, cannot claim the status of original or innovator, they are able to differentiate themselves in this highly competitive environment. South Africa has some very successful generic companies and Aspen Pharmacare, being global not just local is one of the obvious ones. However, if you look at a smaller but by no means less impressive South African company like Pharma Dynamics, you will see a business which has been able to differentiate itself in more ways than one.

Pharma Dynamics is the 5th largest generic company in South Africa and growing the fastest in the top 20 ranked companies.(1)

According to their website, they differentiate themselves by sourcing products from a variety of manufacturers based on best quality and not from one manufacturing source for bulk pricing. They have also launched a generic version of the ‘blue pill’.

However, what I find most alluring is Mariska van Aswegen’s ability to draw the data that the company gathers from health surveys and use this information to educate the public about health trends. For some, this doesn’t connect all the dots immediately but for me, it is a great differentiator. In a recent survey conducted by Pharma Dynamics, they showed that on average a South African man has sex 52 times a year compared with 104 times globally. In a City Press article, Mariska was quoted as saying that the reasons for the lack of libido by participants in the survey ranged from the state of the economy and mounting work pressure to the distraction of social media. (2)

This sparked a lot of coverage in the media to the extent that one breakfast radio team took up the cause with diligence and challenged couples, caught up in this trend, to have sex every night for a week.

If you look at what all these stories have in common it’s obviously about having sex and if a generic pharmaceutical company can set in motion events which led to people having more sex, this article is hardly about a topic that is original but about being different in a very competitive environment.

As for the intrepid weaver, this probably won’t be the only nest he builds this spring as the benefits are obvious, even in an environment with the distractions of ‘social media’ and a lot of work pressure.


1. Pharma Dynamics; URL: www.pharmadynamics.co.za

2. Zinhle Mapumulo, City Press; Why SA men have far less sex than the global average; 22 July 2014; URL: http://www.citypress.co.za/lifestyle/sa-men-get-far-less-sex-global-fellows/