PharmTrends174: Prescription Drug Advertising Enters Critical New Phase

Brand Development Will Require More Astute Direct-to-Consumer Campaigns, Cautions Ipsos

PharmTrends174: Prescription Drug Advertising Enters Critical New Phase

New York, NY - Direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescription drug (Rx) advertising is at a crossroads, according to Ipsos PharmTrends174, a syndicated service tracking consumer purchase behavior of both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs provided by Ipsos, the global marketing research firm. After seven years of strong growth, both advertising expenditures and consumer response have leveled off, the company says. "Now that the spending spree has reached a plateau, marketers will have to carefully scrutinize their promotional plans--and apply lessons learned--if they are to successfully meet the challenges ahead," noted Fariba Zamaniyan, a pharmaceutical industry expert and spokesperson for Ipsos PharmTrends174. Among those challenges? Executing campaigns that achieve not just trial and category expansion, but longer-term goals including brand development and equity. Key Lessons Learned Using Ipsos PharmTrends174 historical tracking data in combination with advertising copy test scores from Ipsos-ASI's normative database for prescription drug ads, Ipsos has identified key lessons learned from seven years of branded prescription drug advertising experience. Among them:
Without packaging and shelf space, use alternative mediums to build name recognition: Traditional branding elements, such as shelving and packaging don't exist. Ads must get the attention of target populations, register unfamiliar brand names, and build awareness quickly. They have to communicate and explain complex messages and benefits, and motivate the consumer to act. And they must do all of this while following strict FDA guidelines and a long -- though predictable--approval process. Linkage to a branded prescription drug and its use can be achieved when connected with recognizable characters, real life stories, celebrities, and music or life events. Predominant music, which is part of the setting can help achieve related recall and brand linkage. Popular tunes therefore, can be considered as part of the audio track. Fair balance can be a challenge, not necessarily a problem: The complexity of fair balance information and the cost of airtime to convey it is an obvious drawback to Rx DTC advertising. There is, however, no evidence in Ipsos' experience that fair balance communication scares off consumers or distracts them. Indeed, fair balance can be used to a marketer's advantage, as an educational and brand linkage tool. The airtime dedicated to fair balance can be effectively utilized to reinforce the brand name advising consumers of the health risks in addition to the benefits associated with prescription drug use (that's why they are dispensed by doctors). Fair balance serves as a public service announcement. Higher order benefits can make the message more compelling to the targeted audience: For symptomatic conditions, relief is the obvious direct benefit. Where the therapeutic benefit is less obvious, persuasion depends on "higher order" benefits such as an enhanced lifestyle or piece of mind. Regardless of the benefit achieved from the drug, it is ultimately very personal to the viewer. Therefore, emotional pay-offs make prescription drug ads more persuasive.
"As the exploratory phase of DTC advertising ends, marketers must integrate the lessons learned if they are to achieve long-term goals, and execute the increasingly sophisticated campaigns needed to drive sales," Zamaniyan said. For more information, please contact: Fariba Zamaniyan Vice President Ipsos PharmTrends 516.507.3047 PharmTrends174 is a registered trademark of Ipsos-Insight, Inc. Ipsos PharmTrends Methodology Ipsos PharmTrends174 syndicated tracking service captures both prescription fulfillment and over-the-counter purchasing data through a longitudinal and continuous consumer panel of 16,000 households that is representative of the U.S. census composition. Each month, panelists report their prescription and over-the-counter purchases for the treatment of a full spectrum of conditions (general and specific). The monthly tracking began in 1997. To learn more about Ipsos PharmTrends174 please visit our Homepage. About Ipsos-Insight Ipsos-Insight is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. As the company's flagship marketing research division in the U.S., Ipsos-Insight provides custom and tracking research to domestic clients as well as U.S.-based multinationals. Ipsos-Insight specializes in research for the Consumer Products, Technology & Communications, Financial Services, and Health industries, to name a few. It also acts as the portal to other Ipsos specializations including advertising research, forecasting, modeling, global research, public opinion research, and customer loyalty research. Let Ipsos-Insight client service representatives help you access more than 4,000 Ipsos research professionals and field staff located coast-to-coast, and around the world. To learn more, visit: www.ipsos-insight.com. About Ipsos-ASI Ipsos-ASI is the largest provider of advertising pre-testing services in the world. Ipsos-ASI offers a full range of advertising research tools to help clients make the best decisions at all stages of the advertising development process, and to maximize the return on their advertising investment. Ipsos-ASI's products include advertising testing (for storyboards, television and print advertising), tracking (continuous and wave) and brand equity research. Ipsos-ASI is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research firm. To learn more, visit: www.ipsos-asi.com. About Ipsos Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research group, with revenues of 538.5 million euros in 2002. It offers a full suite of research services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies in advertising, marketing, public opinion and customer loyalty research, as well as forecasting and modeling. Member companies also offer a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services. To learn more, visit: www.ipsos.com. Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris Premier Marchй, and is part of the SBF 120 and Next Prime Indices as well as eligible to the Deferred Settlement System (SRD). Euroclear code 7329, Reuters ISOS.LN, Bloomberg IPS FP

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