DDR on DTC: Tamiflu

Deborah Dick-Rath
Deborah Dick-Rath

This winter's Flu season reached “epidemic” proportions in many communities. This could be seen as great news for hand sanitizers, and for Genentech's Tamiflu antiviral drug. In this case, increased influenza in the population plus an excellent DTC campaign should result in good news for Genetech's bottom line.


The Tamiflu campaign uses Alice in Wonderland-type imagery to illustrate that flu is “more than a little cold,” and that it needs to be taken seriously. We see a very large man sitting at a doll-sized table sipping from a teeny-tiny cup and an itsy-bitsy bowl of chicken soup. He looks chilled and miserable. Here, the Tamiflu copy is genius because it flips the usual OTC switch language (i.e., “Now available in prescription strength”) to underscore the need for a prescription to feel better. The copy asserts that Tamiflu “works differently than over-the-counter ­remedies—it attacks the flu virus.” The ads also convey urgency: “Don't wait. Call your Doctor right  away.” The print ads are particularly impactful with their visuals of the sufferer in a doll house.

Tamiflu used a blitzkrieg media effort to capture peak flu season. It ran at high levels on TV, in Jan.-Feb. magazines and on news, weather and health websites. We hope this campaign strike yielded the reminder reach levels needed to drive requests for Tamiflu—especially for all those poor souls who had the aches and pains of “more than a little flu.”

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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