Use of Patient Testimonials in DTC & Social Media Advertising Survey

Survey began 8 March 2010

This survey solicits reader opinion on the Use of Patient Testimonials in DTC & Social Media Advertising.

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See Resources & Further Reading below…

Background Recently, companies appear to be using more patient testimonials in their DTC (direct-to-consumer) broadcast and social media advertising. This survey asks your opinion of this practice, including what the benefits may be, the regulatory issues, and how it may evolve, especially with regard to use of social media.

Survey questions include:

  • There is a growing interest among pharma marketers to use real patients who take their drugs tell their stories in direct-to-consumer (DTC) broadcast ads and in social media. Consider the potential pitfalls that a drug company may face if it chose to implement a marketing program that included real patient testimonials. In particular, how much of a concern are the following potential pitfalls? (Consider live interactions, testimonials in DTC ads, or participation in SM discussions.)
    • Assuring authenticity/believability
    • Complying with FDA regulations
    • Complying with New FTC guidelines (re: “typical results”)
    • Controlling the conversation in live/social media venues
    • Finding the right patient
    • Transparency (eg, revealing payment)
  • Below are several statements regarding the use in broadcast DTC ads featuring real, non-celebrity patients who use the advertised drug (eg, patient testimonials in Pfizer’s Chantix and Lipitor ads). Each statement makes a claim that compares these ads to similar ads that do not use patient testimonials. Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each statement.
    • Depending on the condition, these ads are more likely to motivate viewers to visit a doctor
    • Patient-endorsed brands are seen as having less dangerous side effects than similar drugs
    • Patient-endorsed brands are seen as more effective than similar drugs
    • These ads are more believable
    • These ads are more likely to gain attention and cut through the “clutter”
    • These ads are more memorable
  • Patient endorsements are also being seen on sites and in social media. Some of these may not be “real” patients or may be celebrity patients like Sally Field. Consider the use of real patients as paid social media “ambassadors.” These may be patient bloggers or Facebook members who post to discussion boards. Do you see the use of such “ambassadors” increasing in the future?
  • Integration of patient testimonials in broadcast DTC advertising (or live events) with social media (e.g. “You can follow Bob’s success with quitting smoking using Chantix on his Facebook page or receive tweets from him.”). Do you think this will emerge, and if so, what would be the implications?

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Results of this survey will be summarized in an issue of Pharma Marketing News.

Resources & Further Reading:

Survey Results:

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