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Feel the pain / Talk about it /If you're a worried man / Shout about it...
Tears For Fears, "Sowing the Seeds of Love"

The gross over-simplification of the intricate network of biochemical systems that make up the human body in the interests of proving that one's product is the best at relieving some bodily discomfort.

Usually seen as an animation depicting the sole source of said discomfort as a throbbing or jiggling shape in the head or some other region of the body. This is accompanied by an animation of the product being administered, heading straight for the discomfort -- and only there -- and promptly eliminating it within seconds.

Related to the advertising use of Ghost in the Machine, but without the anthropomorphism. Pain Centers are impersonal components of humans rather than miniature individuals of malign purpose.

Examples of Pain Center include:


  • Any aspirin commercial from the 1960s or earlier. And somewhat frighteningly, advertisements for Nurofen, which are still shown regularly today.
  • The "Before You Can Say Anbesol" commercial, for a mouth-sore relief medication.
  • "Lanacane's great for itching--all kinds of itching. It quiets itch nerves fast!" (emphasis added)
  • The little firemen in adverts for Gaviscon Cool heartburn relief, who will hose down your pain centre with Gaviscon.
  • Lest we forget: Head-On, apply directly to the forehead (to relieve a headache by, no joke, numbing your forehead, which is about as effective as you're thinking right now).
    • You can even get the same effect rubbing a candle on your forehead. Head-On is mostly paraffin.
      • Mostly, hell. It's all paraffin, by virtue of the homeopathic theory that the less of the active ingredient is there, the more effective it is. You heard me.
    • Worth noting, to prevent the commercials from being instantly pulled off the air, they make no claims whatsoever. They only implied it's for headache relief.
  • Pepto-Bismol ads used a variation of this trope for a long time, using an animation demonstrating its "protective coating action" on the stomach and esophagus. They stopped doing this after it was determined that bismuth salicylate doesn't work that way -- it's actually a mild antibiotic with some antacid capability.
  • Recent Nurofen adverts have gone from implying to outright stating that the painkiller "goes straight to the source of pain" as the little animated target rondel homes in on the affected body part. God knows how they got that past advertising standards.

Video Games

  • Earth: Final Conflict included a gizmo which somehow turned all the nerves in your body into pain receptors. Just what was going to process these pain signals was not discussed.

Western Animation

  • In The Simpsons episode where Homer and Barney visit the Duff brewery they see an old Duff ad that has a pleasure center directly targeted by Duff beer.
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, Doctor Hutchison refers to this trope both visually and literally when she describes she merely has to remove the lightning bolts of pain from Rocko's body and install the wavy lines of relief for his appendicitis.

Web Original

  • have made an advert spoofing this. The advert is for a medicine against "constantly being struck by lightning". Customers are reminded that it treats actual lightning bolts, not just pain, and also does not treat "suddenly glowing red areas" or "anthropomorphized mucus filling your lungs with furniture".
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