People are getting tired of the same DTC TV ads

KEY TAKEAWAY: Pharma agencies either have not communicated what effective reach and frequency is or DTC managers are spending money so they don’t lose it. Either way, what I learned in analyzing quantitative data is that people are tired of the same ads that are repeated over and over.

 177.7 million adults will regularly use a second-screen device while watching TV this year — up 5.1% from 2016.  The number of U.S. viewers will rise in 2018 again — a 4.5% gain to 185.8 million and up 4.1% to 193.5 million in 2019. Yet pharma DTC managers really believe their commercials are selling their products.

I’m still analyzing data from our huge quantitative study but it’s apparently clear that people are not paying attention to repeated DTC commercials. Why doesn’t pharma develop new spots? Because it costs money and they already purchased the air time.

According to Ed Silverman at Pharmalot “only 7 percent of those queried reported that they made a point of speaking with a doctor about a drug after seeing it advertised on television, according to the survey conducted by Treato, a market research firm. And this was down from 21 percent in a previous survey. Moreover, 76 percent are not inclined to pay attention to an ad just because a celebrity is pitching the medicine; 46 percent want drug ads banned from the Super Bowl, and 80 percent say they are not inclined to pay more attention to animated characters hawking drugs.

Are they measuring effective reach?

Effective reach is used to describe the quality of exposure. As term describe its nature ‘effective’ that is it tells the effectiveness of the reach. Effective Reach is different from reach as effective reach calculates the percentage of reach which makes an impact over the viewer. And reach is just the number of viewers exposed to an ad at least once during the specific period.

Every DTC manager should be measuring effective reach but they aren’t. Having DTC ads run over and over again gives the impression that they are doing something. However, by repeating the same spots over and over they are actually having a negative effect on intent to ask about/for a drug.

Since so many people are skipping ads and cutting the cord TV media companies are offering a lot of spots for a discounted rate. Rather than develop a strategy that tells a story they tend to run the same TV ads over and over.

In the meantime, people continue to tell us that pharma websites have almost no impact in treatment decisions. Pharma marketing is definately in a funk.