Strategically, DTC marketers have many critical issues to review in their campaign development. One of the first steps is to evaluate the drug (i.e., fair balance, competitors, etc.) and the size of its therapeutic population. In the case of GlaxoSmithKline's Lovaza, they got the audience analysis OK, but the drug itself is a little odd — and, unfortunately, it comes through in the campaign, which suffers from a number of problems.
For one thing, it's hard to tell if the brand is an OTC supplement or a prescription drug. Because we see a group of white-coated professionals in the TV spot, we assume it's a “medical” product. But are they doctors or research scientists? Calling high triglycerides “too much fat in the blood” and then talking about fish oil may send viewers to the vitamin shelf at CVS instead of their doctor's office. And while Lovaza can claim that (like fish oil) it lowers triglycerides, there's no proof that it prevents heart attack or stroke.
Although there are myriad problems with the campaign — strategic focus, language — overall, it seems to fall into a common trap of being all about the product's features and benefits without being linked to an insight about the user. This is exacerbated by the confusing “underwater laboratory” imagery. We expect to see a sunken ship or even Nemo swimming by those lab windows — neither of which helps promote Lovaza to the sufferers on dry land.
Deborah Dick-Rath is SVP, healthcare, Symphony Advanced Media. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org