Media Post gets it wrong.. again

UnknownKEY TAKEAWAY: According to Media Post “clearly broadcast TV advertising is still the best medium to drive awareness quickly to the widest possible audience demographic when marketing an Rx drug in the United States”.  They could not be more wrong and the author is naive about why when it comes to choosing TV over online.

According to a 2016 STAT-Harvard poll,[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””] only 7% of consumer respondents were motivated to talk to their physician about a prescription drug they saw on TV, down from 21% in 2015. [/inlinetweet] The poll also indicated that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]57% of U.S. adults support ending Rx drug TV advertising.[/inlinetweet]


We know that consumers are tuning out Rx drug TV ads, are upset by escalating drug prices, and place very little trust in the pharmaceutical industry. So, one might be curious as to why pharma TV ad spending is increasing by 21% this year, according to Kantar Media. Did you know that “nine Rx drugs are on pace to break $100 million worth of TV ad time” in 2016, according to Stat News?

Because DTC marketers don’t know any better might be the best answer.

TV is easier to do than Internet marketing. With TV you develop a creative brief, film a spot, develop a media plan and then say “look what I did!”.  Online marketing, especially today, requires more thought, development and dollars. DTC marketers are in love with TV; they always have been and always will be because that’s where fame and glory are.


Now don’t get me wrong, some Rx drugs can benefit from mass market TV, but clearly consumers are ignoring these ads and DTC marketers have all but forgotten how to “pull” someone into the brand via online.  There are some interactive agencies who are breaking ground on new Rx digital initiatives such as “Greater Than One” but it takes too long to convince people that this is the right thing to do.

I continue to hear about clients who biggest part of the budget pie is TV.  Some of the blame belongs to their agencies who direct them towards TV, but a lot of blame belongs to inexperienced DTC marketers who just don’t get it.