Occasionally, I use humor to make important points about pharmaceutical marketing. Sometimes, however, the humor is lost on my readers, who miss the humor entirely, believe I am being disrespectful, think I am “snarky,” or do not think I am humorous at all!

Take for example, my recent posts about Lyrica direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads, the most recent one being “Lyrica Lightens Up, DTCwise.” In that post I praised — yes, PRAISED! — a new Lyrica DTC ad for its upbeat portrayal of women as opposed to previous Lyrica ads that showed women in a bad light (ie, battered).

In that post, I suggested the Pfizer ad people must have been reading my blog and as a result changed the image of women in the Lyrica ads accordingly.

I was joking, of course! No pharma ad agency would read my blog much less listen to what I had to say! (Just joking! I know that many ad agencies and PR agencies read my blog and some even maintain a “file” of my blog posts as part of their audits of media mentions. Also, see the following comment.)

One commenter (Bill Evans; Wevonium Blog) suggested that DTC ad campaigns are like battleships — it takes time to change direction.

“I know you want to pat yourself on the back for this one (and yes, Pfizer does read your blog),” said Bill, “but it takes a bit loner than a few weeks to shoot, edit and get legal approval for ads. Sorry. This would have been in the works for a while.”

First of all, I WAS JOKING about my role in turning the DTC ad battleship around– DUH! Also, I remind Bill that my FIRST post about negative images of women in DTC ads goes way back to January, 2008 when I suggested that “Women Need More Love, Less Drugs.” In that post, I used the image of the woman from the first Lyrica TV ad for treatment fibromyalgia. Therefore, the Lyrica ad agency had plenty of time to change the ad in direct response to my critique! So, Bill, you have not proven your case; ie, my comments could have influenced the advertisers. And I’m not joking!

Bob Ehrlich in his email-based blog “DTC Blogspective,” said “I doubt Pfizer would have changed its ad for any other reason than this one tested better.”

I guess what Ehrlich means is it tested better than nothing at all, just like Lyrica tested better than nothing at all (ie, placebo) for the treatment of fibromyalgia (just joking!). Ehrlich also “assumes” these ads were “tested,” but there is evidence that a lot of such testing is bogus or not done at all. See, for example, what Lee Weinblatt, an expert in DTC ad testing, had to say about that in this Pharma Marketing Talk podcast (“Your DTC Ads Stink!“).

The Mack DTC Ad Seal of Approval

The best test, however, is the MACK TEST!

I suggest that pharmaceutical advertisers send me a copy of their DTC ads at the same time they send them to FDA for approval.

I award the “Mack Seal of Approval” (see left) to those deserving recognition.

My “user fees” are considerably LESS than what the FDA charges and what I offer is more relevant to your bottom line. After all, you don’t want to spend millions of dollars on DTC ads that will get dissed on my blog, do you?

I’m joking, of course! Or am I?