For DTC marketers, TV is still the yellow brick road, but DTC ads are becoming a nuisance for consumers. Although research continually shows that DTC TV ads are becoming less effective, drug companies insist on spending millions on developing and airing the spots. “What we have here is failure to communicate.” Indeed.
Consumers would ask their doctor about an advertised prescription drug in a perfect world. In our REAL world, that isn’t the way it happens. Is there a disconnect between what DTC marketers think will happen and what happens with DTC?
The pandemic is changing consumer behavior, and there is zero chance they will return to their carefree spending ways. Using the same ads to advertise prescription drugs repeatedly is a waste of money and doesn’t lead to sales.
OPENING: TV is great at creating awareness, but it can also scare patients away if one of your side effects is “may lead to death.” This is one side effect that stands out when your target audience watches your spot along with “serious heart rhythm problems” and “new cancers have happened during treatment.”
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…
- DTC conferences are a waste of time and don’t acknowledge the rapid changes of online health seekers.
- Patients don’t ask about new drugs because of DTC.
- Too much money is being allocated to TV.
- Websites are being ignored.
KEY IDEA: We live in a post-truth world. The institutions that were once trusted sources of truths are now regarded with deep skepticism by citizens and consumers alike. That’s changing the face of advertising.
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.