Yes, I know I'm a a week late on this post, but then again I'm not totally aimed at the Pharmaceutical Advertising market since my Dad died last June. Dad used to always talk with me about direct to consumer advertising especially when it came to internet advertising for these products. Yes I know my sweet spot is in politics, telecommunications, and finance marketing, but I always held a soft spot because of Dad's interest. That's why I found this article so interesting in Business Week.
In this week's Business Week they have an article called Pharma Flees The Net. (I couldn't find it online so that's why I didn't link to it.) Anyway, the article wrote that on April 3 (really April 2) the FDA sent a letter warning 14 of the world's biggest drug companies that their internet ads MUST INCLUDE WARNINGS about risks. Here's a link to all 2009 warnings and here's a link to one company's letter and a copy of the screen shots that the FDA included.
And what happened? Poof. For the most part internet advertising for big Pharma DISAPPEARED; that's right they are gone especially for black box warning products. I didn't check every search term, but for the dozen I looked for they were gone. Sure, display ads might be repurposed (at least the bigger banner units) to include warnings, if you can squeeze them in given a reasonable font size and ad specs, but a search ad or a 468x60 is dead without more guidance. (for a more detailed post see this article from ClickZ)
That's right folks. The tech President Obama via the FDA virtually eliminated an internet advertising mechanism for the Pharma industry. Of course this hurts Google and Yahoo, plus some of my brothers and sisters in the internet advertising world who relied on Pharma as an industry. I really wondered what Eric Schmidt thinks of this as an Obama adviser?
Writing of Eric, I also wonder how many agency veterans, digital consultants, search experts etc supported President Obama during the election and are now regretting that vote? Sure he wowed you with his marketing prowess, beautiful speeches, hope filled messages, and social networking expertise, but did you ever take a look into his policies? Did you ever think for a second how this would impact the way you earn a living?
Maybe you took your eye off the ball and were excited for your middle class tax cut. However, you could have just lost a big chunk of your income statement if you relied on big Pharma advertising dollars.
I saw plenty of internet advertising veterans line up behind Obama during the campaign season; I even got flamed by a few of them for harmless comments because passions ran high. However, with more regulation comes more change. You voted for change. How does that change look on your income statement now?