There are a lot of advertisements on TV for testosterone treatments and for an aging population they seem to promise vitality. However clinical research indicated that older men who use testosterone gel may see small improvements in their muscle-to-fat ratio but are unlikely to glean any benefits in flexibility, endurance and general ability to get around, new research suggests. Are the DTC ads a marketers view of testosterone treatments or do they really convey the facts about these treatments ?
According the researcher “”There may be specific populations of men for whom testosterone supplementation or replacement may be beneficial,” said lead author Dr. Kerry Hildreth, from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.”But it’s really not clear that in otherwise healthy, functional men in that low-normal physiologic range that using testosterone either alone or in combination with exercise added much.” In other words testosterone is not a fountain of youth and is not going to renew vitality for a lot of men but it does have some serious side effects.
I have not seen one testosterone ad that mentions that your physician is the only one who can determine if your testosterone is low via blood tests but then I really don’t pay attention to many ads on TV (I usually go for the iPad). A marketers job is usually to find a unique selling proposition that resonates with the audience but what I worry about is that the images used on the Low T commercials seem to show men who look healthy, although older, and who seem to have more energy because of their treatment. There is a reason why the energy supplement market is worth billions of dollars it’s because all of us are having trouble working more hours and trying to have a family life.
The whole issue of the Low T campaigns brings up a bigger issue for DTC marketers; should they look for an angle or should they work more with their medical teams to truly understand the market and better target DTC ads ? I believe pharma marketers should not look for an “angle” that sells what isn’t said but that they should both communicate the product benefits and the fact that physicians need to be involved in healthcare treatment decisions. The other challenge is to work with an agency that does’t try too hard to “sell” the product or air a commercial for a testosterone product involving sports.