DDR on DTC: Provenge

Deborah Dick-Rath
Deborah Dick-Rath

In a big step that shows how DTC can be a key tool to drive business, small biotech firm Dendreon has launched a campaign for Provenge, its immunotherapy treatment for prostate cancer. The patient cost for Provenge is high and the target list is small. But Dendreon has created a campaign that is integrated, realistic and positive without being saccharine.

The campaign uses 60-second TV spots plus online and print, all using the “jump start” idea, visualized with battery jumper cables (once you know how Provenge works, the analogy is apt). TV is expensive, but it's a good choice for the target of 55+ men, who are home watching the news. The digital channels deliver doctor location links, educational information and physician counseling. Dendreon has dotted its i's and crossed its t's with this activity.

For such a complex disease, the TV commercial has relatively unobtrusive fair balance, thanks to the spot's strong creative platform and high production values.

However, the commercial's effectiveness is slightly undercut by too many visual cues and mushy messaging.

We see from industry reports that Dendreon's investors are anxious to earn a return and are putting a lot of pressure on the DTC campaign for quick results. We hope they realize it will take some time for brand-building to occur—and for this groundbreaking Provenge campaign to prove it can work.

Deborah Dick-Rath is the president of Epic Proportions, a healthcare communications consultancy. She can be reached at deborahdrath@optonline.net