DDR on DTC: A verbal pun in DTC advertising

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For some reason, pharmaceutical professional advertising encourages the overuse of visual puns. How many times have you seen a large animal used to convey “strength” or a clear sky to communicate “easy breathing,” etc? But now, in DTC, we've got a verbal pun. It's a doozy. And it's extremely effective, too. 

MedImmune is promoting its FluMist vaccine by telling consumers to “pick your nose,” a brilliant pun that clearly communicates the product's unique selling proposition and difference from the rest of the flu shot marketplace. Each ad pictures a typical suburban family, with everyone pointing to their nose, showing us what to “pick,” as in “choose.” The copy also leverages the traditional nasal spray advantage of going to work “in the nose,” where influenza can start.

The campaign works on many levels to educate and create a sense of urgency without fear-mongering about the flu. We see the vaccinated family on TV and in print. The Fair Balance is delivered to the family by a neighborhood “doctor” in a non-threatening yet informative manner. Print readers can go straight to the website via a QR code for information about how to talk to their doctor about FluMist. The website includes several videos about making the choice to “pick your nose” or get a shot. 

Because the vaccination period is a short one, the campaign must be forceful to quickly generate awareness and trial. Fortunately, for Medimune's FluMist, “pick your nose” is not just typical Rx PUN-ishment, but a genuine call-to-action that works.

Deborah Dick-Rath is SVP, healthcare, at Symphony Advanced Media, deborahdrath@optonline.net 

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