Monday, January 3, 2011

Pharmaceuticals: Why Are You Even Bothering With Television Advertising?

So I think everybody has seen a commercial advertising a new prescription drug, whether its to quit smoking, birth control, or even those ridiculous Viagra commercials of men doing manly things like changing their oil or saddling up a horse...because real men own a horse, but can't get it up for the little lady.

Part of the requirements of the FDA for prescription drug advertisements on television is that all side effects of the drug must be disclosed in the commercial. But I think we all know the stereotype of how the side effects always seem worse than the original ailment.

I just saw a commercial for a new birth control, Mirena, and distinctly remember exclaiming out loud "Jeez!" One of the side effects included "pregnancy that may occur while on Mirena could cause death or loss of fertility." Which leads me to start to think, at what point does advertising actually start to hurt a product's sales rather than help it? It seems that there's a belief somewhere in the advertising world that any advertising is good advertising when this is clearly not the case. Case in point, girls would you be comfortable taking that pill everyday just knowing that one side effect, nevermind the string of other painful ones they also mention?

The whole point of advertising is to anchor a good feeling to your product in the eyes of your target market. This good feeling creates brand equity when your potential customer sees your product in the store or hears about it from their doctor because they have now become familiar with the product and feel comfortable about it.

If your target market walks away from your advertising scared and thinking "um, no thanks," have you really achieved your goal? Something is broken here...