Friday, September 26, 2008

Selling an "Anti-Cancer" Vaccine

On Tuesday, I went to Adina Nack's talk on STDs and the cervical cancer vaccine (Gardasil), based on her book.  Gardasil is currently approved in the US for prescriptions for women from 9-26 only.  She showed an Gardasil (Merck) ad from the campaign.  The narrative emphasizes cancer-prevention, as opposed to the STD itself.  The marketing of the drug emphasizes cancer (a disease evoking great fear) and glosses over the fact that it is a preventative for the viral source of many cervical cancers.

The launch ads (2006) featured the use of "one less" language:

The "one less" language has also been used for the Cancer Institute Foundation's PSA:

as well as in last year's Spanish-language "Una Menos" ads:

The New Zealand approach focuses on an appeal of knowing that cervical cancer is caused by a virus "that most New Zealand women will get."  Luckily, in the ad, mom and Gardasil are there to protect the child on the playground from the virus floating around, hovering menacingly:

I just saw a Canadian ad for Gardasil that used a visual "sight" metaphor, where women now "see" and choose not to be blind about cervical cancer and its prevention. Comparing websites 
between US & Canada, the Canadian site (much more minimalist) is more explicit about the STD aspects of HPV, but the appeals still focus on the cancer.  Adina mentions how the "stigma" of STDs affects how we react to them.  Marketing a drug that can prevent a set of STDs (four HPV strains) with a target user age range of 9-26 is a tricky proposition, especially when the decision-maker is a parent or adult guardian.  

I'm not surprised that the recent ads use "cool" to market pharmaceuticals.  According to Forbes, the 18-26 targets haven't really caught on and although there were high hopes for Gardasil, the drug isn't a "blockbuster."  Additionally, The FDA isn't allowing the drug to be available to women 27-45, further limiting the market.  

The drug also hasn't been without controversy.  Despite being marketed as an anti-cancer drug, some were put-off morally, as it could be viewed as encouraging sexual activity in young girls.  Other issues have been safety concerns and unknown long-term effects.  One would think that an "anti-cancer" vaccine would be a no-brainer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Apple iPod Invisa-the pace of innovation?

Let's see how long this stays on YouTube.

New link 4/4/2009::
From the consumer point of view, is a fast pace of innovation a good thing or is it frustrating  What are the issues for firms marketing innovations when it comes to delivering value?

Here's part of a graphic on Apple and the mass market created way back in early 2005, almost 4 years ago.  (It would be great if someone re-did this with current products and prices).  It discussed tipping points, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell, a writer for the New Yorker I often take issue with.  The author of the graphic, Paul Nixon, makes a compelling case for Apple using iPod to create a tipping point in the PC market.  While Mac market shares are not in the double-digits, as Nixon offered as a possibility, there has been growth and being in the 7-8% range is saying something about the Apple brand.  The PC market isn't an attractive one.  Consumers want more and expect to pay less.  The margins are tough and the competition is fierce.  Why stay in the PC market at all?  Why not just quit selling Macs and just focus on the iPod and iPhone?  What do you thing the stakes are?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Annoying Ads 101 {may be offensive}

YouTube Link

I wasn't sure if this was a US or Canadian ad when I first saw it, since it was playing a lot on Canadian networks like Showcase (as opposed to US feeds which are commonly available in Canada). The commentors are right, the original cut used the term "liners," as opposed to "backup."  The narrative here is all about normalizing the body, trying to use humor to sell the brand's value-added.  Does it cross a line?

I'm wondering why mother nature is always a crank in advertising?

Here she is in the 1970s hocking Chiffon Margarine and when she realizes the spread isn't butter but hydrogenated oil, thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening..."It's not nice to fool mother nature."  I hate to admit I remember seeing these ads...I'm that old.

Canadian Anti-Drug Ad

This Canadian ad was ridiculed in Toronto this summer.  The execution was viewed as bordering on comical and delving into creepy, particularly the scene with the girl touching her hair when saying "love drug" (ecstasy).  Is this a PSA for parents or a "how-to" guide for the next crop of contestants on "Dateline: To Catch a Predator"?

Everyone Is Going Green...The Pragmatic Approach

YouTube Link

This ad got a fair amount of airtime during the US Open coverage, along with another "go green" IBM ad.  (I'm sort of going through sports withdrawal after 4 weeks of the Olympics & the US Open.)  This take on things is very pragmatic, emphasizing green as a cost-saving benefit.  The "story" is very staged.  The older, gruff manager having to be "sold" on the environmental angle, emphasizing how the proposal will be popular with the "tree huggers" and will make his company look good, but that his bosses don't eat granola.  The woman appeals with the 40% cost savings, alluding to a relatively painless way of increasing the bottom line.  All of a sudden, the manager "gets it," the b & w gives way to color and "Disneyfied" animals, plants, and flowers appear, along with music from The Wizard of Oz.  (I had to look this up).  There's no description of what is in the woman's report...the hook is the cost-saving narrative.  The featured link offers up the details.  Who is the target audience?

Seinfeld Microsoft Test Post