Humira may spend most on TV, but Xeljanz, Taltz and Breo notch highest view rates

Contrary to popular opinion, TV viewers aren't changing the channels often when it comes to pharma TV ads.

When it comes to TV ads, many consumers—and doctors—claim no one wants to see them. But the actual data show few people click away when the ads run.

Data collected by realtime TV ad tracker iSpot.tv analysts shows that, for the month of July, the top 10 pharma TV ad spenders all notched 94% or higher average view rates for the month. That means on average, the ads are watched at least 94% of the way through before someone changes the channel, turns off the TV or brings up the channel guide.

That’s high for TV advertising—most commercials across all categories chart between 75% and 95%, iSpot said.

So what’s keeping viewers tuned in to pharma ads? That’s hard to say exactly, but it does have something to do with the programming where ads run. News shows, for example, tend to score high watch-through rates. More simply, viewers might just be interested enough in the message to stay on channel—or not irritated enough to switch, anyway.

For comparison, iSpot pulled the average view rate in July for erectile dysfunction drug Cialis—the most vilified category of pharma ads—and found those ads were watched on average 90.2% of the way through. We asked for Viagra, but that Pfizer brand facing patent drop-off hasn’t been on air since May 15.

RELATED: Are Viagra and Cialis leaving TV advertising? Report forecasts end of ED era on NFL football

Among the top 10 pharma spenders for July, the highest average view rates were Breo at 98.9%, Xeljanz with 98.7% and Taltz at 98.6%. Even AbbVie’s Humira, the top ad spender month after month, logged an above average 96.4% viewer rate across ads for all three indications for which it buys TV time.

In overall national TV ad spending, the top 10 from iSpot's data dropped a combined $132 million for July, rebounding from June's $115 million top 10 total, which was the lowest-spending month for the year so far.

1. Humira
Movement:
Stayed same
What is it? AbbVie anti-inflammatory drug
Total estimated spending: $32.9 million (up from $22 million in June)
Number of spots: Five (two for arthritis, two for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's, one for psoriasis)
Biggest-ticket ad: “Volunteering” for arthritis (est. $12.1 million)

2. Xeljanz 
Movement:
Up from No. 4
What is it? Pfizer oral rheumatoid arthritis therapy
Total estimated spending: $15.4 million (up from $10.9 million in June)
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Porcupine” (est. $8.2 million)

3. Lyrica
Movement:
Up from No. 5
What is it? Pfizer seizure and pain drug
Total estimated spending: $14.4 million (down from $10.6 million in June)
Number of spots: Four
Biggest-ticket ad: “More Active” (est. $6.7 million)

4. Taltz
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Eli Lilly next-gen psoriasis treatment
Total estimated spending: $11.2 million
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “Close to the People You Love” (est. $4.2 million)

5. Xarelto
Movement:
Up from No. 9
What is it? Johnson & Johnson next-gen anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $10.8 million (up from $8.2 million in June)
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Protect Themselves”

6. Eliquis
Movement:
Down from No. 2
What is it? Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb next-gen anticoagulant
Total estimated spending: $10.5 million (down from $16 million in June)
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “A Lot on My Mind” (est. $7 million)

7. Cosentyx
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Novartis next-gen psoriasis medication
Total estimated spending: $10.1 million
Number of spots: Three
Biggest-ticket ad: “See Me featuring Cyndi Lauper” (est. $7 million)

8. Jardiance
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim SGLT2 diabetes treatment
Total estimated spending: $9.5 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Big News”

9. Trulicity
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? Eli Lilly GLP-1 diabetes drug
Total estimated spending: $8.9 million
Number of spots: One
Biggest-ticket ad: “Jerry and Katherine”

10. Breo
Movement:
Not on list last month
What is it? GlaxoSmithKline respiratory drug
Total estimated spending: $8.8 million
Number of spots: Two
Biggest-ticket ad: “Sam’s Tex Mex” (est. $4.5 million)