COVID and DTC TV advertising

QUICK READ: How has the pandemic affected DTC TV ads and what are people doing to learn more about new prescription drugs? These were the questions we posed in an online and phone survey. Here is what we learned…

In mid-May, on behalf of a client, we worked with an online market research company to determine the effectiveness of DTC TV ads. Survey respondents were rewarded with a $25.00 GIFT CARD. Given the number of people who stay at home, we had no problem finding people to answer the survey questions. Here are the top-line findings:

1ne: TV ads for new prescription drugs do draw attention, but TV ads for prescription drugs that have been on the market for a while are seen as annoying.

2wo: When asked to recall TV ads for prescription drugs the number one health category was depression followed by diabetes.

3hree: Women are 5X more likely to notice DTC ads than men.

4our: The number one activity to “find out more” about an advertised drug was “go online” to the product’s website.

5ive: Asked “what made you ask your doctor about a prescription drug” the number one response was “information I found online”.

6ix: Social media was not in the top responses when asked about” online sources of information”. It was however in the mix.

7even: Asked to rate the information on prescription drug websites (A=Excellent, F=Failed) the top response was “C” followed closely by a “D”.

8ight: Biggest question about new prescription drugs was “cost” followed by “side effects”.

9ine: Depending on health condition the average number of online resources used to make a decision about a new prescription drug was 4.

10en: Asked if the information on pharmaceutical websites was “easy to understand the vast majority, 88%, said no.

11leven: For people who said “they were interested in a new prescription drug” an overwhelming majority said “it could wait” or that they would “contact their doctor online”.

12elve: The biggest challenge in switching to a “new drug” or “trying a new drug”, if cost were not an issue, was the side effects.

13irteen: Finally, we asked “do you trust that new drugs are safe and effective as approved by the FDA?” we were surprised that just over half said yes. A lot of people expanded on this with quotes like “I don’t trust the government today” and “I want to know more about how the drug was tested”.

n=864, Online survey plus opt-in for possible follow-up via phone call.

Obviously `the “digital transformation” when it comes to DTC marketing still lags. To me this once again screams “opportunity”.