The Curse of Know-Nothing Marketers
Whereupon the second paragraph pounds home the advantage of Pradaxa over warfarin:
*In a clinical trial, PRADAXA 150 mg
reduced stroke risk 35% more than warfarin.
Risk reduction was greatest when compared to
patients on warfarin whose blood test showed
lower levels of control.
A patient taking medication for AFib—with a 35 percent higher risk of stroke—would be a fool not to contact the cardiologist about Pradaxa! But how many AFib patients would read the tiny body copy following the big blind headline? As Ogilvy wrote, "Most people don’t."
The right-hand ad in illustration No. 1 is a simple edit: I turned the deck into the headline, so that all AFib patients would glom on to the great news about Pradaxa.
I saw the ad in the Times once a week for four weeks. If it ran nationally the cost was $150,000 each or $600,000 total. The 15 percent commission for the incompetent agency would be a tasty $90,000.
Astonishingly, the Pradaxa Website Is Textbook Correct!
Take a look at the second illustration in the mediaplayer—the Pradaxa website. No blind headline here that some nitwit copywriter struggled over and got the imprimatur of his dodo of an account supervisor. The home page at www.pradaxa.com follows the rules perfectly. The headline:
If you have an irregular heartbeat
called atrial fibrillation, or AFib, not caused by a heart valve problem:
Finally, there is a choice to help reduce
your risk of stroke. PRADAXA.
How the Pradaxa print people could be such dopes, while those who created the website are so spot-on is a mystery.
A Bevy of Bad Ads in TIME
Pradaxa is not the only pharmaceutical company that shells out big bucks for mediocre advertising services. The third illustration in the mediaplayer depicts full-page ads from TIME, May 30, 2011. Both Lipitor and Zetia have headlines that are unreadable and useless. If they had run nationally in TIME, the cost of each would be $301,900 (with each agency collecting $45,285 as a commission for placing the ad).