DDR on DTC: Relpax

Deborah Dick-Rath
Deborah Dick-Rath

Relpax, the migraine drug from Pfizer, has just launched a DTC print campaign that is highly disconcerting. Although the drug is strategically positioned against Imitrex, that info is hard to find in the print ads that are currently appearing in general media magazines such as People. And while the Relpax creative team put in a valiant effort, in the end, they were defeated by too many typefaces, too much copy, too many messages and a somewhat unfortunate choice in art direction.

The golden rule of news, “Don't bury the lead,” should have been applied here. We're not sure what's most important for migraine sufferers to know about Relpax. Is it the comparison to Imitrex? The proof from two clinical trials? Or the sub-message, “Works fast and lasts?” None of these ideas “lead” the brand story.

DTC ads used to be over-aspirational—we saw relieved arthritis sufferers running marathons or playing Frisbee. With Relpax, the insight seems to be that sufferers just aspire to do such everyday activities as mopping the floor. The art direction insists on a literal interpretation, too. We see a black-and-white image of a woman crouching in agony, followed by a glowing orange-hued picture of her happily mopping. Clocks cleverly display the two hours difference from darkness to light.

We hope that Relpax is a success for Pfizer and that migraine sufferers find relief. We also hope they get (strictly aspirationally) excused from swabbing the deck.

Deborah Dick-Rath is the President of Epic Proportions, a Healthcare Communications Consultancy. She can be reached at deborahdrath@optonline.net

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