The new campaign for Lilly’s low testosterone treatment, Axiron, is a classic in both form and execution. The 60-second TV ad is highly targeted and assumptive—it does not explain the condition or how someone may be suffering—but charges right at the viewer with a solution by frame 3. And that’s after a product demo. This is very effective for the tone and the brand context the ad sets.

We applaud the way this commercial sets up the issue and benefit so quickly. This usually takes more time in a DTC ad because advertisers have to “educate” viewers about a condition or disease before introducing their drug or device problem-solver. In this case, Lilly has more to do— they also need to sell the unique underarm application, and they do this with a great iconic gesture that is reinforced throughout the commercial as the sufferer repeatedly lifts his arm. We also see the raised arm in a classic Greek statue of a very athletic man who probably never heard of “low T.”


Speaking of “low T,” this category now has two distinct DTC entrants. Axiron’s competition educates the target audience about the condition and offers some absolution—“It wasn’t me. It was a number.” But Lilly assumes that its audience is ready for a bull’s-eye message. Or, as a classic ad man once said the job of the commercial is threefold: “Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em. Tell ’em. Then tell them what you told ‘em.” Yes, classic.

Deborah Dick-Rath is the president of Epic Proportions, a healthcare communications consultancy. She can be reached at [email protected]