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Your Medical Plan is Doomed - Rx Companies Move to Guerrilla Marketing....

Everyone I know thinks the Viagra and related product ads are stupid, yet hilarious (Jam session with boomers singing "Viva Viagra", are you serious?  Guy throwing a football through a tire while his wife nods approval?  Zyrtek_2Priceless..)  Those seem harmless to a guy like me who watches the bills coming through for a medical plan...

But I still get paid to watch the trends...

For years, the pharma playbook has been to develop a drug, then create the market and cash it in as much as possible before it rolls off patent.

That usually meant tons of TV advertising.  Now, it seems as if Pharma may be getting even trickier in their marketing tactics.

The new way to get Rx market share?

Guerrilla marketing.  Make it look local, like someone trying to find a lost dog or give away a cat... From Fierce Pharma:

"A new guerrilla marketing campaign for over-the-counter Zyrtec proves one thing: If you want attention in the blogosphere, post a few drug ads on telephone poles. They're flyers designed to appear handwritten, saying, "Missing 2 Hours. Last Seen: While waiting for Claritin to start working. If found please call: 1-800-4-ZYRTEC"

That's bad news.  I know this is for a drug with an OTC option, but is there any doubt the guerrilla Rx campaign will be coming to an office park/hospital/clinic near you?



Guerilla marketing reminds me of advertising a local band. The reason being is most guerilla marketing is used for things that people know nothing about and have a small advertising budget. Everyone knows about Zyrtec they just don’t know that it’s over the counter like Claritin. It just seems so tacky to use guerilla marketing for a well established company.

A.J. Stallones

Wow. How typical, a self-centered company abusing a marketing tactic they don't understand.


I actually think the marketing plan by Zyrtec is brilliant. It complements their tv spot, where the woman says that they should advertise the 2 hrs.

Advertisments are probably a good thing when it comes to drugs. The more information you can put into the consumers' hands, then better. If we had to rely on doctors to tell us what's available, they may not give us what we would want, but rather what they get the biggest commission for pushing.

Kris Dunn

Chris -

I tend to agree with you that the use of this alternative type of marketing is a pretty savvy play. I disagree however with your take that advertising is a good thing in general.

The Rx industry has a crazy capability through the traditional ad campaigns to develop markets out of thin air. While a lot of Rx do good things for consumers, there's a lot of issues with the current model, such as saturation marketing that creates perception that values drugs over alternatives like exercise and diet...

Then there's the fact that a lot of the Rx companies take a drug that's come off patent (and is now available via generic), then tweak dosage, etc. so they can still sell at brand prices, etc...

I'll stop there... :)

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