Sometimes the regulatory environment can be more than challenging for a brand, it can be debilitating. I was recently reading People magazine and noticed a detail aid in there masquerading as a DTC ad for Pfizer’s QuillivantXR. How times have changed. Pfizer, once a mighty powerhouse of DTC innovation blasting groundbreaking campaigns for Viagra, Lipitor, Zyrtec and Zoloft, has been relegated (or should I say regulated?)  to running this “ad-like object” for its new ADHD brand.


Unfortunately, Quillivant is in a scheduled category loaded with warnings and PR issues, so we have to admire Pfizer and the Quillivant team for putting their brand out there at all—and not just in a below-radar, in-office publication, but in one of the biggest magazines guaranteed to reach their target audience of moms. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the creative was limited to a wall of ISI with a bullet list of product features. There is no emotional insight or context to resonate with the target.

A box in the lower right corner contains a tiny call-to-action and the URL. The website mirrors the print ad imagery and you can register for the typical CRM and co-pay opportunities. Like a detail aid, we have a logo shot on the ad—in this case, a liquid “Q” to show that the product comes in liquid form. But unlike a detail aid, we don’t get a human being to tell us the story of the brand—and sadly, this ad alone doesn’t either.

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