Doctors Talking About DTC Advertising

>> Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Here's another post from the Planning Group here at Saatchi Wellness. Jacob Braude comments on how direct-to-consumer advertising isn't just for consumers anymore.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take it away, Jacob:

An interesting finding from Verilogue came through my email recently.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, Verilogue offers the unique service of letting you listen to the actual conversations (blinded to preserve privacy of course) that happen between doctors and patients – discovering the common language they use, who does most of the talking, and what they are actually talking about.

They recently took a look through their database of conversations to try and understand how DTC TV ads effected (if they did) the patient-physician dialogue – and they discovered something surprising.

Out of all of the conversations where DTC was mentioned, 54% of the time it was physicians who brought up the advertising – not patients.

Even more surprising, four out of the top five reasons they introduced DTC into the conversation were positive:

Top 5 ways doctors use DTC:
1. Activate the patient’s prior knowledge about medications before a treatment decision has been made
2. Express overt negative sentiment about DTC
3. Increase patient buy-in after a treatment decision has been made
4. Use a DTC advertisement to start the side effect discussion
5. Encourage patients to pay attention to DTC and/or seek information outside the visit

In today’s world of hyper-focus on measurement and accountability, it serves us well to remember that we often don’t understand all of the mysterious and powerful ways that marketing affects our audiences – or even which audiences we may be affecting.

- Jacob Braude, Planner at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


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