DDR on DTC: Humira

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Abbott Laboratories has achieved something quite rare with the latest DTC print campaign for Humira, its rheumatoid athritis (RA) drug. The ads have only one small and rather prosaic illustration. The rest is mostly body copy including lots of fair balance.

Why is this rare? Most DTC print ads feature happy, healthy people frolicking on the beach, in the bath, running, biking…you know, “aspiring.” Or you may see a scientific illustration of a demonstration on how a drug works.

The Humira print campaign now running in newspapers and major magazines uses a simple, honest illustration of blue rubber gloves with the headline, “Doing Dishes.”

These are the only things in the ad that are not body copy. The simplicity of this illustration is intriguing, and I am sure it resonates with RA sufferers in a big way. Why? Because in this case, the “aspiration” is basic functionality.

If a person's hands are crippled with pain, the ability just to wash the dishes is probably a more realistic goal than, say, running a marathon or biking in the Rockies.

I once heard a critic of DTC creative say: “Oops. Your insights are showing,” and that thought occurred to me when I first viewed this ad. But then I thought, so what? Abbott is truly listening to RA sufferers, not interpreting them.

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