Some DTC ads develop from a key consumer insight that points to brand essence and leads to a great creative idea. Some come from a unique feature or benefit that triggers an equally unique concept. Some, however, come from a detail aid. The new campaign for J&J’s Simponi looks like one of the latter.

Here is a wonderful drug that relieves the pain of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and makes life better for sufferers. But what do we see? A carousel on the beach. And then we go shoe shopping. What’s the connection? And, more importantly, how does it relate to RA relief? The lack of an announcer makes it even harder to follow the story. All I could think was that there must be a detail aid with a carousel and maybe some shoes on it with which the ad is supposed to “synergize.” Unfortunately, consumers rarely see detail aids.

The Simponi DTC campaign has a number of good parts, but they all seem to be coming from different brands. The imagery and storyline are not threaded together in a way that makes sense. However, like a traditional “professional” campaign, it leverages its brand symbols at every possible touch-point. The carousel and the shoes are there, but we’re just not sure what they mean. The production values are nice, everyone looks good and the TV ad is memorable—though perhaps a bit off. All things considered, I was left wondering where I could get those cute, red shoes.

Deborah Dick-Rath is SVP, healthcare practice leader, at FactorTG. Contact: [email protected]