News Subject: Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) Advertising
Commentary by: David
AdAge today reports that 200 medical school professors have signed a document condemning Direct-to-Consumer, or DTC, advertising. You can read the article here. The advertising is condemned as inherently misleading, and the profs single out the ‘primarily emotive’ nature of the advertising as being the biggest problem.
This advertising blog concurs for two reasons, as we stated in our May 24th post on Lunesta:
- DTC Advertising Presents an Incomplete Value Proposition – because consumers are not able to evaluate the offer being made by the brand, there is always a ‘trust gap’ in DTC advertising.
- DTC Advertising Creates Flawed Brand Loyalty – The ‘Fair Balance’ requirements of the FDA require DTC advertising to list the potentially harmful side effects of each drug, even if they occur to very few people. This gives every potential user a measure of caution that clouds the the bond with the brand.
Although DTC advertising may be cost-justified in the short term by high ROI (primarily because these drugs are so expensive), it fails the long-term test of building the brand. Overreaching has put these advertisers squarely in the regulatory crosshairs and given the current political environment as well as high-profile FDA failures like Vioxx, these companies cannot depend on their friends to bail them out. Bad business is its own reward.