By Amy Hansen
Originally published by Adweek
Sewer inspector. Embalmer. Gastroenterologist. Tough jobs for sure. But try healthcare advertising for a week. Just try to be creative in an environment where important safety information takes up :35 of a :60 TV spot, where rules for short-form messaging run 15 pages long, where every print ad, website, banner and video must pass a rigorous risk mitigation assessment by a medical legal review team.
The threat of an FDA letter looms large in the lives of pharmaceutical brand managers, and that can lead to a condition known as FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubt. The resulting manifestation is “safe” advertising. You’ve seen it before: Happy patient stock photo paired with a headline about how such-and-such drug can help you get back to life! I’ve stared at blank walls that are more compelling.
So here’s the thing: This highly regulated environment we live in is not a trend. It is a deeply instilled characteristic of the industry, and it is not going away. In the same way molecules are put through the R&D ringer, our ideas will continue to be scrutinized to ensure that they are viable. Sigh.
Suffice it to say that this can get old. It wears on you and tests your fortitude. Cynicism creeps in. The fire in our belly flickers.