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Following Those Wings

Following Those Wings

“Few brands have established a visual reminder as well as Lunesta.”
-Bob Ehrlich


The famous moth is back. Sunovion’s Lunesta moth is floating again on a television screen near you. What is intriguing is the 15 second reminder corporate ad. The ad is unusual in that it is all about the moth; no category copy, no ask your doctor, no brand name. The old reminder ads, which most drug companies agreed to stop years ago, had the brand name without the indication allowing them not to
air fair balance. Critics complained they were confusing and unfair to consumers.

This ad is a reminder ad but relies on the icon of the brand rather than the brand name. The floating moth is well known, at least by consumers who follow sleep aid ads. The 15 second ad is technically neither a reminder nor help-seeking. It is in a category by itself. Obviously it is meant as a reminder ad for Lunesta but because no brand is mentioned it is quite unique.

Few brands have established a visual reminder as well as Lunesta. Perhaps the Cialis dual bath tubs fit this category. Digger from Novartis’s Lamisil may also qualify as do the Vesicare pipes. It is quite rare for a brand to be able to use one simple image to convey so much. The moth is the best because it is so soothing and the calming voice of the female announcer adds to the effectiveness.

I wonder how FDA feels when they see an ad with an icon that is so well-established for the brand. I assume they say it is a legal ad fitting in the reminder or help seeking category. The follow the wings ad is meant to draw people to the web site for Lunesta, where all the fair balance resides. I have no problem with reminder ads and think they will make a comeback for more brands. This clever 15 second visual may be just as effective as a full 60 branded ad. At the minimum, the short ad combined with a full 60 rotation extends the media dollars versus all 60 second ads.

The lesson learned for brand managers and agency creative departments is the value in creating a unique brand visual. Not all brands need one but it certainly is preferable to have one. That little moth can probably turn $50 million of media into the equivalent of $75 million. The test should be watching a commercial in fast speed which I do for most commercials. Increase the speed by fast forwarding and see if you can recognize the brand. Consumers have a short attention span so any ad that works in fast speed is best.

The wings of Lunesta are a great example of powerful imagery. For new brands in early DTC development I recommend brand managers challenge their agencies to do the same. Ask Nike if the swoosh worked for them.

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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