DDR on DTC: Prilosec

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AstraZeneca has proven repeatedly that DTC drives business. They were among the earliest innovators with their DTC launch for Prilosec more than 10 years ago. Many brands and campaigns later, we still have to admire their DTC savvy with their latest Nexium spots.

These two 30-second commercials—one of which involves a man jacking up the head of his bed and the other, a woman trying to chug a water-cooler-size jug of water—are both effective and efficient because they focus on one problem for the brand to solve. This is missing in many DTC ads that are stuffed with educational goals, product and emotional benefits, safety/side effects and savings info. It gets to the point where some viewers aren't sure what the product does or what they should do about it. Not so here. Each Nexium ad focuses on one key problem for heartburn sufferers—the pain is worse at night/when lying down. They use humor to illustrate the problem, and of course, the brand is the hero/reliever. The ads are simple and clever and the sly humor quickly focuses the viewer's attention on the problem. In this category—which is crowded with Rx, OTC and generic competitors—the ads must grab viewers' attention and deliver important info fast.

A few months ago, when AdAge ran the feature “Pharma Marketing is Embarrassing,” which lambasted DTC creative, the author was inundated with comments about how shortsighted and wrong he was. He obviously hadn't seen this effective, well-produced and charming campaign!

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