The fall magazines are always fat with ads, and the latest issues of People were no exception. I was happy to spot many DTC ads in one very hefty issue, two of which really stood out—one for Pfizer’s Lyrica and another for Abbott’s Humira.

There are several similarities between the two ads. Both are highly targeted at female sufferers of chronic conditions: Lyrica for fibromyalgia and Humira for psoriasis. The ads also are similar in that they deploy a “demo” to show how the drug works, an effective and time-honored way to depict “relief.” Humira uses a photo of the results; Lyrica, a simple medical illustration.

But the ads differ in key ways:

  • The Humira ad features a satisfied patient while the Lyrica ad uses a prospect seeking relief. In DTC, these are important strategic differences. A satisfied patient shows how a sufferer could feel if he/she asks for the specific brand, but a prospect seeking relief conveys symptom information that could drive a conversation with a doctor.
  • The Lyrica ad occupies a single page while the Humira ad is two-page spread—the only spread among all the DTC ads in the issue. Although a single page is certainly less expensive, the two-page spread conveys a sense of importance that lends the Humira ad an “announcement” feel.

Both brands undoubtedly have important insights that drove their ad choices. The bottom line is that both Lyrica and Humira delivered effective ads to their target audiences —and were able to leverage that fall boost in People’s readership at the same time.

Deborah Dick-Rath is SVP, healthcare practice leader, at FactorTG. Contact: