A new guerilla 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" (image).
Clever, no? Some bloggers think so: "Compared to the schlock we usually get from Big Pharma, it's a breath of fresh air." It "had the ability to cut through the clutter of its competitors' glossy ads." "[S]ure to generate a lot of buzz for Zyrtec." Some, however, question its legality (but they're not lawyers, of course). Critics say that if it is indeed clever and indeed works, then it will only be because of backup from more traditional DTC venues like TV and print.
One blogger predicts more of this sort of offbeat promotion as Big Pharma faces stepped-up competition from generics. I guess we'll have to see whether this campaign breaks out of the blogosphere first.
ALSO: Pharma marketers plan to boost their online DTC spending and cut back in traditional media this year, according to a new study by Cegedim Dendrite. The top three gainers in DTC spend will be websites, search engines, and e-mail. The big losers: national TV and radio. Report
PLUS: Federal watchdogs warned Pfizer for running an online video ad that left out the risks of its ED drug; at FDA's request, the drug maker pulled the ad, saying that a technical issue had prevented the risk info from displaying. Report
Study: Drug ads drown in online noise
To DTC or not to DTC?
Should FDA's info be in all DTC ads?
FDA to study TV drug ad imagery
Survey: No doubt DTC ads work