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DTC without TV? – Saxenda

It is rare to find a big budget DTC campaign that does not use TV as a part of the total plan. Saxenda, a weight loss drug from Novo Nordisk is one brand that excludes TV. There are several interesting things about this campaign.

First is the amount spent on print with no TV. According to MediaRadar, Saxenda spent an estimated $89 million on print in the latest 12 months. Given typical discounts big companies get, this might be a high estimate. That budget, even if less, is certainly large enough to do TV. The obesity category has high incidence and that is where TV is largely used. Yet Saxenda sticks with print. They have been advertising to consumers since April 2017 so after three years they must be satisfied print is effective. They clearly target women given the magazine title selection led by Better Homes and GardensGood HousekeepingWomen’s Day, and People, among other popular female-targeted books.

The second thing that is notable is the creative consistency. Most Saxenda ads are headline oriented and have been that way throughout. Currently they use “Losing Weight and Keeping it Off” as the headline in a 2-page spread. The earlier ads have the words “Will” and “Way” boldly featured and also have small type to fill out the expression: where there is a will there’s a way. I like creative consistency and Saxenda has been very patient running basically the same style of ad.

Thirdly, we see creative that equally pictures both sexes. This is interesting given the majority of titles are women’s publications, although there is Men’s Health and Golf magazine among the media titles used. That said, women are the primary target. I assume Saxenda believes that women who show interest will tell husbands and other males who are overweight about Saxenda.

I do not know why Saxenda avoided television. Obviously, they probably concluded that print alone got them the awareness they wanted at the budget they had. Their choice of print could have to do with the fair balance. There is a fairly lengthy list of risks and side effects in the print ad. This is not unusual for DTC, but it may have required a 75 second television ad, and that length may have convinced Saxenda that print more efficiently communicated benefits and risks.

There are currently very few big spending campaigns that avoid television completely. There are some that spend in the $10-30 million range that only use print / digital; Aubagio (MS), Imvexxy (Menopause), Imfinzi (Lung Cancer), and Steglatro (Diabetes) are among the few.

Of 28 DTC campaigns that spent over $10 million on print in the past year, only five did exclusively print. The trend has been to use television as part of the media plan even for highly targeted drug categories. What matters most, however, is achieving the brand media objectives. Most DTC studies show combined print and broadcast optimize a plan, but each brand is unique. Saxenda has chosen what it believes works best. In a DTC world where television reigns, it is interesting to see some brands go a different direction.
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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