The use of 90-second ad units by healthcare advertisers is on the rise. Will 90s and other atypical ad-length units make TV more viable for pharma, and what’s the best way to use this new mix of ad units?

Andrew Schirmer
EVP, managing director, McCann HumanCare

The increased use of the atypical unit is driven by two realities: For many brands, TV remains a valuable channel for reaching large numbers of patients quickly and with impact, while continued pressure from FDA is driving more detailed explanation of side effects in mass media. But there is a need to find the right cost/benefit balance, and for many, the :90s are the right fit.

On the media side, the ­networks and cable operators realize they are not the only option anymore and they have to be more flexible with how time is purchased.  Marketers would be wise to consider using a mix of :60s and :90s in rotation and accept the :60s having less “sell” copy.

Camille Lee
VP, diabetes marketing, Novo Nordisk

Today, more than ever, patients have greater say in their healthcare, so it’s ­important to take a patient-centric approach to informing and educating about disease states or treatment options.  Atypical ad units not only provide more time to cover the risks and benefits in a demanding regulatory environment, but also allow for more engaging and infor­mative creative that results in a call to action.

From an industry perspective, longer ad units have also outperformed shorter ad units in Direct Response TV, proving that this medium is viable for both pharmaceutical and the patient.

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