Did the Super Bowl Halftime Show Jump the Shark?

Mark Schnurman, founding partner, Filament
Mark Schnurman, founding partner, Filament

While the Super Bowl has not traditionally been a haven for pharma advertising (this year's Jublia ad notwithstanding), there are some important lessons to learn from the games and specifically, the halftime show. Arguing the creative value of Katy Perry is a topic for another day. 

The question for me is just how far the NFL should try to stretch its demo with the halftime show. At some point in the stretching process something has to break. I think we saw the breaking point earlier this month.

I did not think that the teenage girl was the much coveted demographic that the NFL was so urgently trying to obtain. As I watched the show, I thought what is next, Disney Princesses on Ice for a halftime show? Or maybe Dora the Explorer? Frankly, the California Girls bit last night reminded me of more of Dora than any other musical act.

As marketers, do we make the same mistake? In an effort to grab as big a market share as possible, do we lose sight of our core audience. In the pharma industry, it seems even more important to understand our core customer and build from there. It is difficult enough for us to capture the physician's attention in an ever- shortening detail or keep a consumer's attention during a DTC spot.

With the recent changes by the FDA to the DTC ad policy, we may see even more DTC advertising, leading to even greater battles over share. Let's not make the same mistake as the NFL and walk away from our core brand in an effort to stretch our target market to the breaking point.

Mark Schnurman is founding partner of Filament, a communications training company working with both pharma and consumer ad agencies.