Friday, October 21, 2005
Marilyn MuchFri Oct 21, 7:00 PM ET
TV viewers can pretty much count on a daily dose of ads plugging the latest blockbuster drugs.
Drug makers spend big bucks promoting their products in broadcast and print media. And they've really opened their wallets in the past two years.
In 2004, the industry poured $4.1 billion into U.S. advertising of prescription drugs, up 26.8% from 2003, says market researcher TNS Media Intelligence. That's on top of a 24.3% rise in 2003.
But these days growth has stalled. From January through July, industry spending on ads slipped 1.5% to $2.34 billion.
The slowdown comes amid a changing industry landscape. That in turn has prompted a change in ad strategies and spending patterns.
"There's been an evolving conversation in many quarters about the value of direct-to-consumer advertising, how you measure it and what should and should not be allowed (in the ads)," said Michael Guarini, managing director of the health care practice of ad agency Ogilvy & Mather.
Lately the industry has faced closer scrutiny of its ad programs.
One culprit is Merck's (NYSE:MRK - News) heavily advertised painkiller Vioxx. Merck pulled it from the market last September after a study showed that long-term use boosts the risk of heart attacks. In the lawsuits that soon followed, plaintiffs pointed accusing fingers at the advertising.
The industry has also come under fire for its reliance on TV ads.
Critics charge that a 30-second TV spot can't convey all the side effects, risks and benefits of a drug, says Dr. Amit Dhawan, assistant medical director of drug marketing consultant Mattson Jack Group.
In August the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America answered by issuing 15 "guiding principles" on direct-to-consumer drug ads. The standards are voluntary and take effect in January.
The rules urge firms to submit TV spots to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before broadcast. They also advise that ads present risk and safety information in clear, simple language.
The industry could see more new rules in the future. The FDA will hold public hearings on direct-to-consumer prescription ads on Nov. 1 and 2.
"These hearings are part of an extensive review on how the agency handles drug advertising," said Laura Alvey, an FDA spokeswoman. "It could be a first step toward a formal process for setting new regulations. But it doesn't necessarily mean we're going to draft new rules."
All this will prompt players to tweak their consumer ad strategies.
Some firms have already mapped out their plans. For instance, Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY - News) will limit ads for its erectile dysfunction drug, Cialis, to programs younger audiences likely won't watch.
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE - News) will provide use, risk and benefit information in all TV and print ads.
Drug marketers will likely shift some of their emphasis to disease-awareness and help-seeking messages, says Ogilvy's Guarini. These ads will not tout a specific product or brand, but will focus on the overall disease or condition, he says.
Merck, for one, is using this approach. It's running campaigns to inform patients about ailments such as diabetes and heart disease and their attendant risks, says Merck spokesman Christopher Loder.
Another change: "We'll probably see a more discreet use of broadcast," said Guarini. "That's not to say the dollars devoted to broadcast will disappear or decline dramatically. But they'll be more selective about how they use broadcast."
Judging from recent numbers, that trend has already started. From January through July, prescription drug ad spending on network TV fell 6.7% from last year, while cable TV posted a 30.4% gain, says TNS. Spending on ads in local magazines leapt 88.3% and rose 28.3% in national newspapers.
Why is broadcast out of favor? As consumer drug marketing has matured and evolved, we're seeing programs use more of a mix of media, says Guarini.
Advertising on network TV is costing more and more, he adds. Cable also offers more opportunities, including more networks and new and original programming.
Cable also lets drug firms and their agencies develop response-driven ads where consumers can call a toll-free number or go to a Web site for more info. This lets consumers get more involved in the health care process.
Drug makers might also create more personal, direct interaction with consumers, says Richard Martin, president of the Mattson Jack Group. They can use disease associations and other mechanisms that let the patient register for ongoing health care information.
Over time, the Internet will play a greater role in getting the word out about diseases and treatments, he adds.
Drug firms will likely focus their branding strategies more on professionals, says Kelly O'Keefe, chief executive of a brand strategy consulting firm that bears his name.
"You'll see more dollars spent in areas other than broadcast TV," he said. "I think you'll see print holds its place in the pharmaceutical ad market better than broadcast because they can more adequately disclaim the product (in print)."
Print ads have more room for detailed warnings.
He also expects changes in ad content. You're likely to see more authenticity in claims, more straightforward and careful wording, he adds.
"The fizzle and flash are likely to go away," he said.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 8:31 PM
Tighter Government Controls Anticipated
October 20, 2005
By Rich Thomaselli
“Drug companies are already changing,” said Bob Ehrlich, former VP-consumer marketing for Parke-Davis and CEO of DTC Perspectives, which sponsored the Oct. 19-20 conference. “DTC looks like DTC did in the early years, only with better production value,” he said. “Drug companies have shifted creative from hip to square.” The upside, Mr. Ehrlich said, is that while spending on TV ads is likely to be down next year, 2006 will see “significant increases in Web advertising, direct marketing and at point of care.”
Bill Drolet, account executive and partner for Yahoo’s pharmaceutical division, predicted that pharma companies would up their Web spending budgets next year. “The pharmaceutical companies are looking for engagements and I think that’s something that Yahoo addresses,” he said. “I can see the drug companies spending 5% to 10% of their total budgets online next year.” Asked why big pharma hadn’t yet fully embraced the power of the Web, Mr. Drolet said, “A lot of them didn’t think the Internet had scale. I think they do now.”
“It’s certainly possible," he continued. "Then watch for steroid-injected special interests going after Big Macs and Whoppers -- after all, cholesterol kills. Hummers and SUVs -- an insidious plot by the oil industry to promote irresponsible petroleum consumption. Disposable diapers -- a real biohazard. M&M candies -- all of the colors are not equally represented. Sound absurd? When you hear people talk about banning, restricting or limiting any type of speech don’t be passive. Make no mistake -- advertising is on the cutting edge of free speech.”
FDA TO HOLD NEW DTC ADVERTISING HEARINGS
First Regulations Expected; Celebrity Endorsers May be Banned
PFIZER ANNOUNCES NEW DTC AD POLICY
Branded Campaigns to Focus on Diseases Without Product Mention
PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY ISSUES DTC AD GUIDELINES
Softball Approach Rejects Calls for Restrictions or Moratorium
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER ENDORSES TWO-YEAR DTC AD BAN
Voluntary Moratorium Would Apply to New Drugs on Market
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB ANNOUNCES NEW DTC POLICY
Will Cease Ads During First Year of a New Drug's Release
FDA ORDERS ELI LILLY TO PULL DTC DRUG COMMERCIAL
Cites Strattera TV Ad as False or Misleading
FDA ORDERS PFIZER'S BEXTRA WITHDRAWN
Cites 'Unfavorable' Risk vs. Benefits
FDA ORDERS ASTRAZENECA CRESTOR ADS PULLED
Cites 'Misleading Claims' in 'Clearly the Best' Ad Series
FDA ASKED PFIZER TO HALT CELEBREX ADS
No Indication How Long Suspension Will Last
PFIZER TO PULL CELEBREX CONSUMER ADVERTISING
But Says It Does Not Intend to Withdraw Drug From Market
MERCK PULLS $2.5 BILLION DRUG VIOXX OFF MARKET
$78 Million Advertising Account Is With DDB, FCB
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 8:56 AM
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 8:17 AM
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
GlaxoSmithKline and Roche, copromoters of the osteoporosis treatment Boniva, are sponsoring the Bone Divas Project, a calendar and educational campaign available on iVillage.com. The Bone Divas Calendar, which features 13 women over age 55 who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, is available for free on the Web site. Because iVillage is "a magnet site for women's issues," offering the calendar on the Web site is a way to educate women about osteoporosis tips and information. The site also includes a link to the Roche and GlaxoSmithKline-sponsored Web site BoneBalance.org. The iVillage network had an average of 391 million monthly page views during the second quarter 2005, according to the Web site.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 7:23 AM
What Does the Video iPod Mean For VOD?
By Cory Treffiletti The video iPod is a MUCH bigger deal than most of us realize.
The iPod is a cultural phenomenon. It's had at least as wide-reaching an impact as Napster did when it initially launched, if not more so. The iPod took the digital audio format and made it accessible for everyone, bringing it into the mainstream and out of the den or the computer room. The device has become omnipresent, with its little white wires reaching into the ears of almost everyone I see, transporting everyone into his or her own little world, complete with a personal soundtrack.
The video iPod has the potential to go even further, for two primary reasons. The first is that the device provides an even more engaging element than audio by bringing video into the mix. Users of the original iPod are still aware of the world around them. While listening to music, they can still observe their surroundings. But the video iPod brings users' focus to a small screen flashing in front of their eyes, taking their attention away from the world around them. This could have a negative impact on the social structure, but it's certainly one that we can expect to see as people take content with them and watch it at their leisure.
The second impact, and one that I find even more important, is the increased role that iTunes will take in providing users with single- serving content when and wherever they want it. For all the impact that the iPod has had, iTunes is 10 times stronger. iTunes became the first widely used interface for purchasing music legally online, and it has already integrated itself into the habits of many consumers. iTunes morphed to include podcasts when user demand began to increase, and now more people are listening to podcasts than are subscribing to digital satellite radio. Now iTunes is morphing again and making it easy for consumers to purchase a show the day after it airs, viewing it on their computer or their iPod. This will inevitably catch on, and has extremely wide-reaching implications.
Being able to purchase a show almost immediately will have an impact on the two largest drivers of revenue for TV shows, syndication and DVD sales. Syndication has always been how a show makes most of its money in the long run, but if a user can own the episode right away, what is the allure of syndication? Similarly, DVD sales have recently proven very fruitful for TV series, but as more shows become available through the iTunes interface, what role will DVD sales play in 5 years? Will DVDs of TV shows be outpaced by the immediacy of online delivery?
Our society is based on immediate gratification, and digital media proves and exploits this fact. As the screens get bigger on mobile devices and the experience becomes richer, we will continue to see the consumer own the interaction with content. Time-shifting will become more prevalent, as will location-shifting. Traditional broadcast is doomed to be replaced by video on demand in a format that very few people anticipated. When we think VOD, we automatically think of a TV, but it's not bound to the parameters of a TV. VOD can be mobile and available on any device that is video-enabled.
Think about the implications of this! The video iPod is big, but the impact of legally delivering television programming immediately to your computer is bigger. Some of the players may fight this, but we've seen time and time again that consumers' desires are what drive the market. Only time will tell if the market for delivering this content in this format will be accepted and encouraged by the consumer. But don't plan on examining this trend for a while. With the speed of technology adoption and development by companies like Apple, the window is closing very quickly.
It's only a matter of time.
Cory Treffiletti is SVP, Engagement Architect at Carat Fusion.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 7:21 AM
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
New Web site delivers 'smart' health searches
Web startup Healthline launched a consumer health search system that offers "medically guided" search results and news, according to Reuters. Unlike generic search engines that can yield millions of unfiltered results, Healthline aims to deliver relevant medical information that is categorized via a system of 800,000 medical terms. The site also includes 3,000 HealthMaps of different conditions that allow users to choose which aspect they'd like to learn about. For example, a headache HealthMap lets users choose to learn about causes, risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, or follow-up, according to the site. Users can also narrow or broaden their search with related topics. The homepage features the most popular searches below the search bar, as well as current health news.
Sponsored links on the network are powered by Google and include Topomax.com, Avandia.com, and AcidReflux.com (Nexium). Go to Healthline.com to learn more.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 7:40 AM
Monday, October 17, 2005
If RSS=Really Simple Syndication, Why Is It So Hard?
by Shankar Gupta, Monday, October 17, 2005
When I got my first computer in the dark ages of MS DOS, the commands above were something like what I had to type to get my word processor to run. This was not an especially user-friendly part of the information age. Nowadays, of course, users have Windows XP or Mac's simple OS (although diehard Mac users will argue they had it from day one). Users rarely have to think about directories, .BAT files, .EXE files, or Config.SYS--they can usually just double-click the shortcut from the desktop.
But if users don't have to use obscure commands and remember strange abbreviations to use their desktops anymore, why do sites force them to do it to use Really Simple Syndication subscriptions?
Average users, to subscribe to the average RSS feed, have to download an RSS reader or find a Web-based one, figure out that they should be clicking the orange "RSS" button (which is often marked "XML," or is sometimes neither orange nor a button, to further complicate things), then copy and paste the URL into their RSS reader, which will then allow the program to get the feed and download the articles.
This is why RSS adoption still remains very low, and 83 percent of those who do use the technology don't even realize they're using it, according to data released by Nielsen//NetRatings last month. RSS technology is extremely useful for consumers, publishers, and advertisers alike, all for the same reason--it's constantly updated, so consumers get the content (and the ads) all day, every day, without having to keep going back to a Web site. But until it becomes more user-friendly, adoption will inevitably lag.
Fortunately, some companies realize this, and are working to remedy the problem. Google's Web-based RSS reader doesn't mention XML, Atom, nor even RSS--it simply is about subscribing to "feeds." Internet Explorer 7, when it finally comes, will reportedly be quite RSS-friendly, integrating feeds into its browser environment. And more and more sites are integrating RSS and subscription buttons prominently into their site design.
On the other hand, the link to the New York Times' RSS subscription page is tucked away and unheralded at the very bottom, right above the copyright notice. So we're not quite there yet.
Online Publishing Insider for Monday, October 17, 2005: http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=35230
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 1:33 PM
Ad Age: Health cell phones on the way to the market
Medical technology firm CardioNet plans to relaunch its cardiac monitoring device with limited cell phone capabilities by early 2006, according to Advertising Age. CardioNet is working with digital wireless company Qualcomm to develop the device, which will only take calls from a patient's physician, CardioNet's call center, or a 911 dispatcher. Currently, CardioNet has connected more than 35,000 cardiac patients with the device, which, in addition to monitoring heartbeat, also has the ability to send and receive text messages. With health cell phones likely hitting the market within two years, Qualcomm sees an opportunity to reach a new audience of cell phone users, especially among the older population, where cell phone use is lower than in the general population, according to Ad Age. To learn more, go to CardioNet.com.
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 11:23 AM
AOL: African-Americans more likely to use Web for health info
African-American Internet users are more likely to use the Web to access health-related information than the general population (72% vs. 53%), according to the first AOL African-American Cyberstudy. Additionally, 54% of African-Americans said the Internet provides more information about healthcare issues that are important to them than any other source. African-Americans were also more likely to use the Internet to search for health information (64%) than other sources (53%), according to the survey. In general, African-Americans spend more time online--five hours per day, compared to 2.9 hours per day among the general population. When it comes to ads, 73% said they are more receptive to culturally diverse advertising, and 68% favor companies that benefit the African-American community.
For more information and statistics from the survey, click the link below.
AOL Survey Finds African Americans Spend Nearly Double the Time Online Than the General Population
Business Wire via NewsEdge Corporation :
African Americans are racing to the Internet in record numbers, according to the 2005 AOL African American Cyberstudy, conducted for AOL by IMAGES Market Research. They report spending more time on the Internet (5 hours a day vs. 2.9 hours a day for the general online population) and are closing the gap in Internet usage with nearly 80% of African Americans having access to the Internet (vs. 88% of the general population). And two-thirds of online African American households have a high-speed connection vs. 53% of the general population. Those currently not online are more likely to get connected within the next 6 to 12 months.
The study also revealed that African Americans are embracing the Internet as an indispensable lifestyle tool and a tremendous resource. They are far more likely to use the Web to access a variety of information: news (68% vs. 56%), entertainment (55% vs. 26%), health related issues (72% vs. 53%), financial questions/needs (60% vs. 40%) and sports (39% vs. 26%).
Other popular activities include: using a search engine (92%), communicating with family and friends (86%), using the Internet to get driving directions (85%), opening a bank account or online banking (62%) and listening to music online (62%). In addition, 62% of African Americans feel the Internet is helpful with individual career advancement and is a useful education tool (80%) for all ages.
"As we look to offer marketers the most relevant information about online behaviors of various demographics, we are excited to announce the findings of the first African American Cyberstudy," said Michael Barrett, executive vice president, AOL Media Networks. "We are committed to provide the advertising community with new data about the changing nature of online behaviors to better serve their needs."
"The study clearly demonstrates that African Americans have turned to the Internet to save time and make their lives more efficient and enjoyable," said Bret Moore, publisher of AOL Black Voices. "The Internet has truly proven to be a life enhancement tool that African Americans are using to attain their goals and realize their dreams."
However, the study also found that an overwhelming number of African Americans say there isn't enough online content that "speaks" to them as a distinct culture with its own dynamic needs and values. The survey also found that almost three-quarters (73%) of African Americans were much more receptive to culturally diverse advertising. And 68% favor companies that benefit the African American community.
-- Nearly Eight in ten African Americans surveyed are currently using the Internet - the remaining 21% are more likely than the general online population to jump on the Internet within the next 6-12 months.
-- Already, 64% of African Americans online have broadband access - vs. 53% of the Total Online Population
-- African Americans are far more likely than other online users to use the Web to access a variety of information: news (68% vs. 56%), entertainment (55% vs. 26%), music (49% vs. 21%), and sports (39% vs. 26%).
-- The most popular online activities among African Americans are using a search engine (92%), communicating with friends and family (86%), and getting driving directions and maps (85%).
-- Almost two-thirds (62%) of African Americans feel the Internet is helpful with individual career advancements.
-- Seventy-six percent of African Americans view the Internet as a big time-saver, saying it allows them to access large amounts of information quickly and get more things done in a day.
-- African Americans spend an average of 5 hours per day on the Internet while all others spend 2.9 hours a day.
-- Online African Americans report they use the Internet an average of 6 days per week, compared to 5 days per week for all others.
Researching and Buying Products and Services Online
-- Forty-nine percent of African Americans feel the Internet is the best source of information on consumer products.
-- Almost three-quarters (70%) have researched an item online and subsequently purchased it in a store.
Finding Relevant Information Online
-- Seventy-two percent of online African Americans say the need to obtain general information prompted initial use.
-- Fifty-four percent feel the Internet provides more information about healthcare issues important to African Americans than any other sources. And African Americans are far more likely to turn to the Internet for healthcare-related searches than all others (64% vs. 53%).
-- Sixty percent believe the Internet is the best source for financial information.
-- The Ability to get entertainment information quickly is a big draw for African Americans (75%).
-- Forty Two percent of African Americans go online to learn about new styles & fashion information.
Discovering Entertainment Online
-- African Americans view the Internet as an entertainment medium, using it to view video clips and download music.
-- Seventy-three percent of African Americans feel on-demand entertainment is an important benefit of the Internet.
-- Seventy-eight percent see the Internet as a time-saver allowing them to avoid waiting in line for tickets.
-- The most common movie-related reasons to go online are to look for a movie they may want to see (73%) and to search for a theater or movie time (68%).
Using the Internet to Communicate
-- Eighty-six percent of African Americans use the Internet to communicate with family and friends.
-- Thirty percent of respondents use instant messaging occasionally or more.
Financial Goals and Management a Priority
-- Six in ten African Americans look for information about financial products online.
-- Online banking services are already widely used, with 71% of African Americans indicating it's their leading online financial activity.
-- Forty-six percent are likely to start or increase their investment practices in the near future.
-- Online African Americans earning $100K or more are significantly more likely to track their investments or stock portfolio online.
Automotive Information and Buying
-- African Americans are more likely than all others to cite the Internet as the best source of information for automotive-related issues (63% vs. 44%).
-- Researching different vehicle types (62%) was the most common reason for automotive-related Internet usage.
-- Slightly more than half (52%) have used the Internet to price shop new cars.
-- Over one-third (37%) of African Americans plan to purchase a new or used car in the next 12 months compared to 22% of all others.
Getting Going Starts with Going Online
-- African Americans are avid are avid travelers: 2/3 of African Americans have traveled domestically in the past 12 months.
-- African Americans are more likely than all others to report the Internet as the best source of travel-related information (79% vs. 73%).
The 2005 AOL African American Cyberstudy conducted by IMAGES MARKET RESEARCH comprises three phases. In the first Qualitative Phase, focus groups were conducted among African Americans with a home ISP in three cities,
The Quantitative Phase followed in May 2005 with a web survey of 1,016 African American Internet users. A simultaneous study of 550 phone interviews was also conducted to obtain comparative perspective (300 African American sample and 250 general market (GM) sample). The web survey portion was done using a national database of African American panel members. An invitation e-mail was sent to their address and respondents were given a link to access the survey. A combination of RDD (Random Digit Dialing) and African American listed sample was used for the telephone portion of the study.
A Two-Step Cluster Analysis procedure was applied to the 1,016 online completed surveys of African Americans who have online service providers. The resulting four clusters are psychographic groupings that represent respondents who participated in the web survey.
About IMAGES Market Research
IMAGES Market Research is a full service multicultural marketing communications company headquartered in
America Online, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. Based in
Posted by Fabio Gratton at 11:13 AM