Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Pharma DTC TV Advertising Is a Joke. Seriously.

No wonder CBS refused to run the following "Stoogesta" ad during the NCAA basketball tournament. According to Deadline, network execs were concerned because the spoof, which promotes the forthcoming “The Three Stooges” movie, makes "light of prescription drug ads."

I've seen some pretty funny spoofs of drug DTC ads in my time (eg, see "ADHD Boy"), but this is the best I have ever seen. It convinced me to visit my movie theater & ask for an Rx of silly!

I imagine that pharmaceutical advertisers sent a clear message to CBS that they did NOT find the spoof funny. Rx drugs, after all, are serious and should not be made "light of."

However, it's not the drugs that are being spoofed. It is the drug advertisers who have rolled out the same formulaic DTC TV ads for years and years. Even kids think most of these ads are a joke.

Will the formula ever change? I don't think so. Here's why.

One of the funniest lines in the spoof is "Three in 6 billion people are afflicted by Stoogation (?), a disorder that causes the brain to ricochet and bounce..." That's just slightly more outrageous than some claims made in real drug ads about the prevalence of some "disease" you never heard of before.

I've commented on the topic of DTC ads making outrageous disease prevalence claims before (see "Disease Awareness or 'Disease Mongering'?", for example). In many cases, it is absolutely necessary for drug ads to make such claims to justify the millions of dollars spent on mass media TV ads to reach the "three in 6 billion" people who may suffer from the condition advertised.

So, the tradition of "making light of drug ads" will live on as long as advertising agencies and TV networks rake in millions of dollars to air ads that would be better off targeted to the truly appropriate audience.

BTW, the NCAA basketball tournament audience is PERFECT for the Stoogesta ad! But the ad that was chosen to run in its place is totally wrong; that ad spoofs Christianity! Where's the religious right when you need them?

1 comment:

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