DDR on DTC: Zostavax

Deborah Dick-Rath
Deborah Dick-Rath

Always a leader in DTC, Merck  reminds us why with a terrific new integrated campaign for their shingles vaccine Zostavax. Taking a page from Merck's own successful Gardasil campaign of a few years ago, the Zostavax team uses very effective educational/disease-state TV ads about shingles combined with an equally effective branded campaign

The DTC effort on shingles education is highly targeted at seniors who are at risk. It leverages a key piece of scary news for this aging audience (in their favorite medium, TV): “If you had chicken pox, the shingles virus is already inside you.” This ­frightening thought is surrounded by testimony from people describing the burning, pain, itch and ugliness of the disease. The upbeat print ads, which remind seniors to get vaccinated, use rhymes in the headlines to activate the vaccinate idea.

Because shingles is extremely painful to have and to see in others, Merck should be congratulated for elevating the dialogue—we don't have to see how awful the condition is unless we look on the website—and for optimizing the dialogue between patients and their doctors. This campaign delivers all the positive drivers of DTC by informing people who are at risk, offering a solution and encouraging a conversation with a doctor before it's too late.

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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