DDR on DTC: Abilify and Lipitor

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One of the biggest problems for DTC marketers is that there is no packaging for consumers to bond with (remember the “eighth P” of the “seven P's” from business school?). Pharmacists still dispense Rx drugs into plastic bottles that all look alike. While the pills may have a distinctive shape, color or name embossed on them, that's about it for this “P.” We know when we see a DTC ad featuring an Rx bottle that we're in for a promotional message with rational reasons to purchase or ask about the product.

Pfizer's Lipitor recently added a “pill bottle ad” to its DTC campaign. Fortunately, Pfizer also runs a testimonial campaign for the brand, with real people explaining why it's a good choice. Without the humanistic execution accompanying the “pill bottle ads,” it would probably have trouble persuading people to do anything. BMS/Otsuka's “pill bottle ad” for Abilify is another stark example of a rational argument execution that does little to illuminate the end-benefit of the brand. Where the Lipitor ad uses brand colors and an artfully backlit photo of the bottle, the Abilify ad relies on drawings to make its point that people can use it in combination with antidepressants. I wonder if people even notice it in a busy consumer magazine.

In both cases, we are sorely reminded about the missing “P.”

Deborah Dick-Rath is SVP, healthcare practice leader, at FactorTG
Contact: deborah.dick-rath@factortg.com
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