Making ads that make an impact. When you see a TV show or a movie about an ad agency, this is the stuff they show them doing. For a lot of us, it’s why we got into the business. Along the way we learned that there’s more to it than they show on TV – you didn’t think ER or CSI or Glee were real either, did you? – and we got pretty good at that those other things too. We’re proud of our Managed Markets, Branding, and REMS expertise, but let’s be honest – you don’t get hired to do that stuff unless you’re already pretty good at making great ads.
We do plenty of work targeting real people – check off DTP and DTC on your agency acronym bingo card. But we have a special love for the HCP (bingo!) work. It’s tempting to think professional advertising is different because doctors are, well, different. And it’s true that there are some unique considerations. Like customers who are prescribers, but not users. What’s the emotional benefit to a person who is making a rational decision about a product that he or she is not going to actually use?
Ultimately, doctors are people who have memorized more than other people. Their heads are already packed with information. Their attention is understandably reserved for only the most engaging bits of promotion.
It’s the dirty secret of the industry, but some agencies seem to think that, since it’s just to doctors and it’s just pharma and we’re so restricted, it’s OK if the creative is maybe not so great. At Palio, we think the reverse is true. Your ads for sneakers and cheeseburgers can be pedestrian because nothing is really at stake and everyone knows all about sneakers and cheeseburgers. But when advertising about medicine, especially to doctors, the standard for creativity, for uniqueness, for engagement, could not be higher.
So no, you don’t see hit shows about pharma advertising. Because, as with most everything else, the true story of advertising to doctors is just more real than anything you’d ever see on TV.