No matter that my colleague Rich Meyer over at World of DTC Marketing Blog thinks that the trade publication DTC Perspectives is worthless…

And no matter what my differences in opinion are with Bob Ehrlich, the CEO of that organization…

I still look forward to that magazine for useful insight and data that I can use to lambast the excesses of pharmaceutical marketers.

The December 2007 issue, which I just got in the mail, is a treasure trove of stuff I can comment on, starting with the “Top 15 Brands” DTC ad spend for the first half of 2007 (H1 2007).

I’ve taken the data — originally compiled by Nielsen Monitor-Plus — to create the following chart (click it to enlarge):

These 15 brands represent exactly 50% of the total DTC ad spending of $2.54 Billion in the first half of 2007 (this does not include Internet ads or search, which is insignificant anyway — see below for that discussion).

Remarkably, Lunesta spent 71% MORE than its nearest competitors (Ambien CR and Rozerem). Another way to look at the Lunesta DTC ad spend is: $1 MILLION PER DAY (including Sundays)! In fact, ad spending on Lunesta represents 7% of the total spent on DTC advertising by ALL Rx brands.

Pharma Ad Spending Increases While Other Industries Cut Back
According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, pharma ad spending increased 7% in H1 2007 compared to H1 2006. (Considering the above analysis, that increase could be due to a single drug — Lunesta!)

Other industries, including automotive, restaurants, and department stores, decreased their ad spending in H1 2007 compared to H1 2006.

What About Internet Spending?
While promotion to physicians may be shifting to the Internet (see story here), in terms of measured media spending — which is what Nielsen measures — pharma spending on Internet advertising represents only 1% of the total ad spend (see pie chart below). Even if you were to add in search advertising, the pharma Internet sliver of the ad spend pie would hardly increase.

NOTE: online advertising expenditures account for CPM-based image-based advertising. All reported estimated expenditures and impressions do not account for the following placement types: text only, paid fee services, performance-based campaigns, compound ads, sponsorships, barters, in-stream (“pre-rolls”) players, messenger applications, partnership advertising, promotions and email campaigns. AdRelevance currently does not report estimated spending for paid search advertising.

The good news? Pharma Internet spending increased almost 9% in H1 2007 compared to H1 2006. Compare that to a 20% increase in National Magazine ad spending and 5% increase in TV ad spending.

Influence of Critters
Other data presented in DTC Perspectives showed the 5 “most recalled new prescription drug ads.” The winners were Lunesta with the highest recall (better be for $180 million!) followed by Lunesta (2 different ads, each one includes the moth), followed by Zyrtec followed by Nasonex and Rozerem.

The editors point out that three of the five most-recalled ads in 2006-7 are closely connected with some type of “icon,” by which they mean bee, moth, and Abe Lincoln/beaver. If the current DTC Critter strike (see story here) lasts much longer, these brands may not be so easily recalled in H1 2008!