Saturday, June 9, 2007

Just a bit of a stretch

Pharmaceutical advertising is a dismal scene, particularly where prescription drugs are concerned. Procter & Gamble's over-the-counter heartburn relief product, Prilosec OTC, has the benefit of avoiding the channel-changing boredom of the Patient PI (the litany of side-effects and risks required by the FDA in any advertisement that mentions the indication of the drug.) So, Prilosec OTC, there's very little hindering your creative freedom in making your commercial. All you need is a nice hook - take it away, P&G:

Woman: For NASCAR drivers, blocking is a way to stay ahead of the pack. For me, blocking is how I stay ahead of frequent heartburn.

Interesting, the old auto-racing/heartburn medication tie-in trick. Well played, P&G. I was thinking you might go another route.

"For NASCAR drivers, pumps are a way to get gas quickly into their race cars. For me, pumps are where protons are inhibited during my frequent heartburn treatment."

Or maybe...

"For NASCAR drivers, burning is what their tires do while accelerating. For me, burning is what my throat does when my stomach contents back up and enter my esophagus during my frequent heartburn."

Then, after some more information about how she can enjoy her day, her evening and spasmodically dancing with Prilosec OTC...

Woman (wearing an "I *heart* Burton" t-shirt) and Jeff Burton: (preparing food at some kind of cook-out)

Not just NASCAR but Jeff Burton! Wow! You mean the Jeff Burton who won 7th place in the 2006 NEXTEL Cup? "Wow", again! Household name Jeff Burton. Hey, did this ad air exclusively in South Boston, Virginia?

Zero heartburn for twenty-four hours with one pill a day. That's my Prilosec OTC.

Nice slogan. "Hey! That's MY Prilosec OTC! Get your own damn over-the-counter delicious heartburn medication!"

Such a flimsy pretense. Sometimes sponsorship tie-ins just aren't worth it. It's like the VP of Marketing for Prilosec is a huge NASCAR fan and decided, "We're doing NASCAR for the next TV spot. Sign the cheapest driver you can get." Then some agency was forced to make heartburn medication fit with auto racing. If that indeed was the case, then this commercial was about the best you could hope for. But for Pete's sake, next time, just tell us about your product and leave the stream-of-consciousness product linking to the viewers. Besides, everyone knows Prilosec OTC is WAY more like rugby.

1 comment:

Windier E. Megatons said...

Prilosec appears to sponsor Burton's car, so maybe that's why they used him. But I do think it's odd that they're marketing so aggressively towards the Southern/rural audience; note that they also have a national ad featuring country music "star" Phil Vassar, who no one outside the country music scene will have heard of. Even the one with Brett Favre doesn't show him playing football - it shows him at home in Mississippi, eating crawfish, sawing logs, and generally doing down-home stuff. Does research show that people from the South get more heartburn, or what?