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Painful DTC

Painful DTC

Agencies can excel without excess creative devices
-Bob Ehrlich


There are two DTC ads I think do a great job of telling consumers about pain prevention and remediation. One is branded, the other a disease education spot. Neither is brand new but I thought they deserve some positive comments for delivering strong, effective consumer communication.

Merck is running an excellent campaign on shingles. For those of you who have had it, it is intensely painful even in a small outbreak. I had it once, just a few pimple like things on my chest, and it was extremely painful. Merck uses real people testimonials from middle age folks who talk about the intensity of shingles pain. They do a good job warning people that a shingles outbreak should be avoided at all costs.  It is very simple advertising but very effective. Since most of us have had chicken pox, the dormant virus can re-emerge as shingles. I got the vaccine Merck makes and feel better about getting a serious outbreak. One outbreak was enough to make the investment in the vaccine well worth the cost.

The second campaign I admire is Pfizer’s Lyrica for neuropathy. Living in Florida, I know many people who have this condition. Pfizer also uses real people to explain the pain of nerve damage. Neuropathic pain is frequently the result of diabetes because the disease damages nerves. Neuropathy presents as pain, tingling, burning and numbness. Providing relief to these symptoms is a big deal.

Using real people to explain a condition works well when the condition has dramatic symptoms. You do not need actor physicians, cartoon characters, or celebrities to get the point across. Real people can get really animated when explaining their excruciating pain.

Sometimes DTC ads need a unique creative device to get attention. Certainly, asymptomatic conditions may require a creative hook to grab your attention. That may be a grand scene on the mountains or at sea. They may need some unique creative device to stop you from changing the channel. When one talks pain relief, however, or preventing pain; nothing beats straightforward patient testimonials.

Both ads show that agencies can excel without excess creative devices. The best ads touch consumers in a personal way. Both these straightforward ads do just that.

Bob Ehrlich, Chairman

DTC Perspectives, Inc.

Bob Ehrlich
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer at DTC Perspectives
Bob Ehrlich has over 20 years marketing experience in pharmaceutical and consumer products. Bob is the CEO of DTC Perspectives, Inc., a DTC services company founded in 2000. DTC Perspectives, Inc. developed the DTC National Conference, the largest DTC conference in the industry. DTC Perspectives, Inc. also publishes DTC Perspectives, a quarterly journal dedicated to DTC issues and practices. In addition DTC Perspectives, Inc. does DTC consulting for established and emerging companies, and provides DTC marketing plans for pharmaceutical companies.
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