Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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The Olympics aka Chemists' Games: Guess Which Country Dopes the Most

The Olympics aka Chemists' Games: Guess Which Country Dopes the Most | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Munich (1972) was the speed (amphetamines) Olympics; Montreal (1976) was a movable feast of anabolic steroids. There was not a single positive drug test at Moscow (1980) — because testers hadn’t figured out how to detect the cornucopia of lab-made steroids athletes were taking, and those Olympics came to be called the Chemists’ Games.

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Pharma Goes for Gold in TV Ads During the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Pharma Goes for Gold in TV Ads During the Rio 2016 Olympic Games | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Olympic Games marketers have a long history of crafting emotional TV ads that “soft sell” brands or companies. Themes like determination, family, triumph over adversity, and patriotism often result in heartwarming, dramatic and even cinematic TV commercials.

This year, some pharma marketers are joining in and following some of those more traditionally emotional Olympic ad themes.

Of the 6 pharma ads tracked by that aired during the opening Olympic Games weekend, three were corporate or disease awareness TV spots that fit the subtler and more emotional mold.

Take Pfizer’s ($PFE) anthemic “Before it Became a Medicine,” which traces the long journey of a drug going from idea to compound to an actual pill. The emotional play is strong as the ad ends, when a young father taking that pill says, as he scoops his young son into his arms, “and so after it became a medicine, someone who couldn’t be cured, could be. Me.”

Merck ($MRK) ran a new version of its poignant disease awareness ad for HPV vaccinations during primetime Olympic coverage, too. The new 1-minute ad features both a young woman and a young man who talk about now having cancer caused by HPV. In a series of age regression photos, both go back in time to their pre-teen selves. Along the backward time lapse, they ask, “who knew” that there was something that could have protected them long before they were exposed to HPV. In the final shot of each story, now as 12-year-olds, they ask “Did you know? Mom? Dad?”

The other emotionally fraught ad came from Mylan ($MYL), which re-aired its relatively new “Face Your Risk” ad addressing the dangers of severe food allergies. In it, a young woman gasps for breath after eating a brownie with peanut butter in it. As her friends panic and dial 911, the girl looks into the mirror at her swollen face now covered in hives and then passes out.

Even some of the branded pharma ads that aired the first weekend leaned Olympic.

Novo Nordisk’s ($NVO) TV ad for its diabetes treatment Victoza featured Olympic gold medal basketball player Dominque Wilkins, which is a direct tie, but Wilkins also talks about the “moment of truth” for people like himself with Type 2 diabetes. Pfizer’s commercial for rheumatoid arthritis drug Xeljanz XR goes the family route with an ad that shows a mom being awakened by her adorable and active young daughter before they going about their active day with a model-handsome and loving dad.

Pharma Guy's insight:

For  more about the Pfizer's "Before It Became a Medicine" campaign, read “Pfizer, U.S. Law Breaker & Tax Evader, Launches an Ad Campaign to Improve Its Rep”; 


Perhaps August will even surpass July as the biggest month for pharma TV ads. For more on that, read “In July #Pharma Spent Money on TV Advertising Like There Was No Tomorrow!”;

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