Matthew Herper

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

False marketing doesn’t pay. On Wednesday, Forbes.com downgraded a member of its billionaires list, Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, now listing her as having an estimated net worth of “nothing.” Nada. Zilch. Zero.

What triggered this column was a full-page advertisement in The New York Times for Pradaxa, a drug designed to treat a heart condition called atrial fibrillation, which has just been cleared for launch into the marketplace.

The stakes are huge. One pharmaceutical analyst predicted that by 2018, Pradaxa will generate blockbuster revenues of $1.38 billion.

The headline of the ad and deck are shown in the IN THE NEWS box at right.

It is immediately obvious that Pradaxa hired rank amateurs to create its print campaign.

Clearly, neither advertiser nor agency nor creative people had a clue what they were doing. The ad breaks the most basic rule of advertising, which means that it was flat out missed by many of the very patients it was aiming to reach.

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