How to Push Pills

IAG Offers Tips to Make Your Pharma Ads As Memorable As That Moth

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For the second consecutive year, sleep aid Lunesta took the top spot for most-recalled drug brand and most-remembered pharmaceutical ad. IAG Research found it was recalled 50% more often than the average new prescription-drug ad this TV season. Allergy medicine Zyrtec (the third-most-recalled ad) and rival sleep aid Rozerem (the fourth-most-recalled ad) weren't far behind. So what's the secret to making your brand stand out in this crowded category? Here are five tips from IAG.
1.
GET CREATIVE
Pharmaceutical drugs normally aren't easy-to-remember brands, so develop a clever marketing idea that works in 60 seconds or less -- and keeps consumers' interest despite required and sometimes longwinded lists of side effects.
2.
MAKE SURE YOUR CAMPAIGN HAS LEGS
Most of the top-recalled ads were actually extensions of ongoing efforts. "You don't have to reinvent each time. They took the idea and built from it, changing the copy a little bit here and there," said Fariba Zamaniyan, senior VP, IAG Research. "They've been able to break through and sustain product tie-in and brand recognition."
3.
FIND YOUR INNER ABE LINCOLN
Lunesta's luna moth, Rozerem's Honest Abe and talking beaver, and anti-platelet pill Plavix's Fireman Jim stick in consumers' minds. Creating an icon to add life and humor to an ad can enhance brand identity.
4.
KEEP IT RELEVANT
You'd think this would be a no-brainer. The ad and the product should relate to each other. A sleeping-pill ad should have some allusions to sleep. A digestion aid should show food somewhere in the commercial.
5.
DARE TO BE DISTINCT
Because of Food and Drug Administration guidelines advertisers need to follow to get a prescription-drug ad approved, many ads "go into the generic scenes that make them fall into the clutter of TV," Ms. Zamaniyan said. Don't be afraid to venture beyond the typical drug ad. Yes, Lincoln and the beaver have been called abstract, but they have stayed fresh in people's minds.
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