Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - April 2008 - (Page 34)

34 Last Word April 2008 Pharmaceutical Executive Europe ROI — the Only True Advertising ‘Award’ Do award-winning ads actually work for pharma? Trevor Acreman investigates. I ncreasingly, brand owners need to predict advertising and marketing effectiveness to inform their budget allocation and ad copy choices. What can we learn from our understanding of advertising effectiveness and research into neuroscience to guide our advertising strategy? Are adverts that win awards more effective than other ads in selling product and improving brand equity? Described as the second oldest profession in the world, billions of pounds are spent on advertising every year. No wonder then it is one of the most written about and a talked about topics in marketing. Indeed, it’s become an integral part of our everyday lives and everyone has an opinion. Celebrating great advertising has become de rigeur, as has the discussion and debate about how ads make us feel and whether or not we like them. Hardly a month goes by without some feature or mention of the latest awards evening celebrating winning advertising campaign. A casual flick through the press throws up the PM Society awards, the IPA Healthcare awards, the EPICA awards, the Rx Club awards and more — and this is just in the healthcare sector. Most of these awards are there to celebrate creativity. They, quite rightly, recognise great creative talent; they presumably also operate on the implicit assumption that highly creative ads are more successful than less creative ones. Other awards are based on the subjective opinions of doctors and other target audiences — presumably on the assumption that doctors can tell you directly which ads are most successful. But what really makes ‘successful’ advertising? Is this the same as award-winning advertising? Well, let’s first of all define successful and be crystal clear about it — whether you are advertising a Supercar, a soap powder or a stain, the first and most important function of advertising is to sell. So why are advertising awards not based solely on sales effectiveness? I suggest it’s nothing sinister, but probably because it’s hard to prove sales effectiveness — or at least hard to untangle it from all the other sales and promotional activity that every company engages in. However, as this industry starts to take return on investment (ROI) more seriously and, rightly, demands that advertising achieves a desired objective, this needs to change. I can see a future where proving effectiveness — as in other industries — will be core criteria of advertising awards. I challenge the awards in our sector to recognise that we need this now if we are going to improve best practices in our use of advertising. Further, is there any evidence that the award-winning ads in the pharmaceutical sector are really worthy of their accolades when rated on their ability to sell? With continuous advances in the understanding of advertising effectiveness in the last few years, Millward Brown has analysed some award winning ads against criteria now known to be predictive of sales effectiveness. What these studies have shown is that, what I ‘like,’ what you might ‘like’ and what the target physicians might ‘like’ is, taken on its own, irrelevant. These opinions don’t matter. What does matter is whether the advertising results in more prescriptions for the advertised brand — and there are two ways main ways of influencing this: ● having ‘stopping power’ and drawing attention to the brand; ● saying something new and relevant about the brand. These have additive affects and each can be more or less influential depending on the life stage of the brand. How ads get stopping power Let’s start with creativity. Creativity is the most important thing in successful advertising copy. While creativity is hard to define and measure, you can measure reaction to it. With both print and online channels, the reader is in control of the length of exposure to an advert. The reader can flick or click immediately to the next page, or stop and take notice. Creativity is key because it gives print and online ads stopping power — that is, it makes them more likely to be read and remembered. Analysis of our own database of measuring advertising effectiveness in the last 30 years for more than 50000 adverts, tells us that ads that are memorable have a much greater chance of increasing brand share. This is because memories of the ad creative or the message contained in the ad are more likely to come to mind when the GP is making a prescribing decision for a patient. Memorability can be predicted and diagnosed using key metrics such as ‘interest’ and ‘engagement’ — for example, creative may be seen as involving and distinctive or even disturbing and irritating. But of course memorability, and by definition creativity, on its own is not enough. An ad can be creative and memorable, but unless we

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - April 2008

Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - April 2008
From the Editor
News and Analysis
Brussels Report
Designing Tomorrow's Supply Chain
Look After Your eHealth
Why CIOs Need the X Factor
Doing It Right
Online and On-Message
Reward: Better Business
The Only True Advertising 'Reward'

Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - April 2008