We’ve written before about how bad DTC advertising can be when it appears to be simply a consumer version of an HCP visual aid, not a strategic, insight-based communication. In Tecfidera, an oral treatment for relapsing MS from Biogen, we have such an example. The campaign does not leverage a strategic insight to connect with patients. Instead, it uses a visual pun (a hiker walking on a “pill” foreground over a river with mountains in the background) to advise MS sufferers to “Change Their Perspective.” 

Other product features are featured, but not emotionally linked to a cohesive benefit. Thus we have an efficacy statement (“cuts relapses in half”) and a promotional statement (“#1 prescribed pill for relapsing MS in the US since September 2013”) as the main reasons to believe in the brand.

On the plus side, the print ad utilizes clear, well-crafted fair- balance copy in an easy-to read typeface. The layout is -attractive and the PI is brief, well-structured and non-threatening. And I applaud the campaign’s media plan, which is on target in leveraging women’s and entertainment magazines to drive awareness.

I am sure the ad scored well on “stopping power.” But for an MS patient, there is nothing to connect with. There is only the aspirational image of a hiker caught up in a weird visual pun.

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