Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsAdvertising

Advertising & Marketing | AD REVIEWS

Lilly Downplays Product Too Much

Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on tastefulness and probable effectiveness, with $$$$ being the highest.

September 24, 1998|DENISE GELLENE

Advertiser: Eli Lilly & Co.

Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago

Challenge: Nudge consumers to contact the maker of Prozac for information about depression and treatment, without mentioning the name of the drug.

The Ads: Three television ads airing on national cable channels dramatize the symptoms of depression and urge viewers with questions to call a toll-free number for more information. One ad, shot in black and white, shows a depressed woman sitting idly on a chair, another woman curled up in bed and a glum man unable to finish a meal. "Have you stopped doing things you used to enjoy? Are you sleeping too much? Have you noticed a change in your appetite?" a narrator asks. A second ad stresses that depression is a disease that with treatment can be cured. "If you break an arm, people say get a cast," a narrator says. "But why is it if you're depressed people tell you to just snap out of it?" Viewers who call a toll-free number included in each ad get free information and a symptoms checklist. Each spot ends with the Lilly logo and the greeting "Welcome Back."

Comment: Lilly's pitch is so subtle that these moody, 60-second ads seem like public service announcements. With prescription drug advertising still in its infancy, Lilly has avoided the hard sell. While that is laudable, the ads don't say enough. Lilly should disclose that it markets a leading anti-depressant--its motivation for the ads. And it's worth asking whether drug companies should be targeting people whose judgment might be impaired by depression. $$

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|