We all know chronic pain is a horrible thing, something people have tried to alleviate with every means possible — herbal, physical, mystical, even pharmaceutical. And we all know that if you relieve chronic pain, you get to go to the beach. With a dog. How do we know that? It's something we learned from the very first DTC campaigns.
That's why I was stunned to see Pfizer's new campaign for Celebrex. It combines the most trite imagery available with vaguely scientific language about “a body in motion” to remind us that our relieved patient can now go to the beach. With his dog. And his Frisbee.
Pfizer usually brings terrific thinking and innovation to their DTC activity. Their accomplishments and breakthroughs will be taught in advertising courses and business schools for years to come. But with this campaign, they really stepped back in time—to the “grandpa on the beach” era that defined early DTC and was used in almost every single therapeutic category.
Celebrex has an important place in DTC history and Pfizer has steadfastly supported the brand. They‘ve worked closely with the FDA to effectively smooth out the claims and the language. They even used a 2:30 ad when needed. Too bad that their agency thought it was 1999 when they created this campaign. Or maybe turning back time was the point—to the dawn of DTC when Celebrex was a dominant player. I just hope that we don't see pool-outs featuring Tai Chi, bicycling, gardening or dancing. Then we'll know we're about to go generic.
Deborah Dick-Rath is SVP, healthcare practice leader, at FactorTG. Contact: email@example.com