drug companies are ruining advertising

One of the reasons that great advertising is so hard to come by these days is that pharmaceutical companies run so many ads. And, though I like this ad for Rozerem…

…most ads are very much NOT like it. In most drugs spots there is no narrative and no creativity. They are eminently forgettable:

In addition to being forgettable, all pharma ads – including the Rozerem one – are creepy. These spots have 20 seconds dedicated to listing possible side effects! No wonder people don’t like advertising. When I see these spots, I don’t either.

Though boring and uncreative, I did like the Mirapex one…but only because it made me laugh. Intense sexual urges as a side effect? If this whole RLS thing turns out to be a smaller market than anticipated, Mirapex could always be marketed as a Viagra-killer.

The worst part is that somewhere some drug exec is thinking the exact same thing.


3 responses to “drug companies are ruining advertising

  1. I once got a very good explanation of drug advertising that made me hate them a lot less.

    We, in the urban upper middle class, have access to good doctors and a world of specialists. But people outside out world don’t. They get anti-depressants from a Primary Care Physician in a clinic somewhere. Not from a shrink who specializes is psychopharmacology. When they have cancer, they don’t go to Sloane-Kettering. They go to some regional hospital where there are no specialists in that particular kind of cancer.

    These ads help alert them to the kinds of treatments that are out there. Let them know that there are options beyond what they’re being offered.

    Not all of them– lots of RLS type drugs being offered- but certainly enough of them.

    The whole “here are the side effects” thing is troubling though and definitely turns people off from the mass of advertising. That, and the fact that if I don;t have asthma, I don’t want to hear about drugs to treat it.

    And you try sitting in the room while a Viagra or Cialis spot is on ESPN, hoping the Tadpoles won’t ask what “an erection lasting up to 4 hours” means.

  2. Check it:


    John Edwards wants to ban drug advertising, and probably plans to run a bunch of advertising to advertise it.

  3. Pingback: pharma ads & the golden days of advertising « the daily (ad) biz

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