As a followup to the previous post on newspaper advertisements, we thought it would be helpful to look at how pharma and pro-health organizations used print ads to market, in addition to some ads that are not from pharma or pro-health organizations. Some might argue that print is dead, especially among young people/millennials, but the demographic in need of medication is often older folks.

We start with since they get credit for one of the best ad campaigns ever. The ad uses the format of a cartoon to highlight anti-depression features of the product to a target market of depressed mothers of young children. The apparent value proposition is it can turn you from being “no fun” to being able to have fun again. We also are told that it has helped millions of people with depression. It engages the user via a cute cartoon (in keeping the cute bubble theme) with dialog between cute bubble as mom and cute bubble as doctor. There are other bubbles for the grocery check-out person and the dad. The emotional response is one of teary-eyed “isn’t that wonderful, this brings the family together” sentiment. The ad’s call to action is to follow her lead and 1) decide to get help, 2) go to the web and learn about Zoloft, 3) ask a doctor about it, 4) take it. That is expected to yield depression relief benefit to the respondent. The objective was measurable in terms of increased prescriptions and potentially attainable because is it harder to appeal to emotion with text only and the static bubbles are not nearly as cute without movement or voice over.

Charak Pharma highlights laxative features of the natural laxative product to a target market of someone with constipation. The apparent value proposition is that it will enable a bowel movement. It engages the user via a clear and somewhat crass [yet quite funny] message “why take s___ from anyone when you can make your own?” The ad’s call to action is to take the pill to relieve constipation and is expected to yield relief to the respondent. The objective would be relatively hard to measure precisely since this product is “natural” and thus not by prescription. The ad is unique and different. Most of us know the constipation ad with the lady who looks uncomfortable, but other than that, treatments for constipation are not well known.

The ad from the Canadian Cancer Society highlights cancer causing features of tobacco product to a target market of young people who might be drawn into the use of flavoring (in this case tangerine). The apparent value proposition is you can avoid cancer if you avoid flavored tobacco. It engages the user via a weird color splotch over a picture of the liver. The ad’s call to action is to avoid flavored tobacco but how, when, or where is not specified. It is not clear if the desired impact is to have people never start or to quit if they already started.It’s doubtful that it had much impact since young folks don’t worry too much about cancer (and statistically it isn’t a risk in their near future). And the splotch over the liver doesn’t convey “don’t do this” to me. Doubtful that it will decrease cancer, much less get folks to quit or not start.

The Lipitor ad highlights lowering cholesterol features of the product to a target market of healthy adults (the woman is attractive, young, and swimming). The apparent value proposition is that this drug can lower your cholesterol. It engages the user via a big question “Are you kidding yourself?” and a healthy looking and active young woman. The intent is to instill doubt. The ad’s call to action is to talk to your doctor about risk and Lipitor, and is expected to yield benefit to the respondent in the form of a lower cholesterol level. Measuring prescriptions should be possible.

The ad from the Lung Cancer foundation highlights how cigarettes kill oneself or other people and is targeted toward a market of smokers, other smokers, or people who are affected by and can influence smokers. The apparent value proposition is that if you cut out cigarettes you decrease the lethal effects of smoking. It engages the user via a simple message with emotionally charged single words (suicide and homicide). The ad’s call to action isn’t stated, but is clearly to stop smoking or stop someone from smoking both for them and for yourself to prevent premature deaths. The objective would be hard to measure since quit attempts aren’t public and long term impact is difficult to measure. The goal of getting someone to quit smoking is attainable but mostly by the motivated or by people willing to listened to the pleas of others. Unfortunately, that population has already quit. Those left smoking are likely to not be in that category.