AARP Changes Wording of Ad Intended to Counteract Drug Companies DTC Advertising After Networks Raise Concerns
AARP is revising a television advertisement intended to counteract the effects of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising after the networks "balked" at some of the spot's wording, the Wall Street Journal reports. The ad, the "keystone" of a $10 million print and broadcast advertising campaign designed to encourage the use of generic treatments over more expensive brand-name drugs, originally ended by urging viewers not to buy drugs that are not necessary. It concluded, "Do not let advertising sell you on drugs you don't need." ABC and CBS refused to air the ad, while NBC started running the ad but later asked for the last line to be reworked. While network officials did not comment specifically on their objection, they said that they consider ads for "fairness and accuracy" and that they generally try to avoid ads that "disparag[e] other advertisers." Now, the ad will close: "Remember, no matter what an ad says about a drug, it may not be right for you." With the change, ABC and NBC have agreed to run the spot, the Journal reports. It has also been running on local stations in Washington, D.C. John Killpack, AARP's director of brand management, said, "The message we want to get across is we just don't want people to be unduly influenced by advertising into thinking they need a drug that they do not need," adding, "So it wasn't problematic for us to come up with a rephrasing of it." The ad will likely be revised within 10 days, according to Killpack (Greene/McGinley, Wall Street Journal, 5/14). The campaign also will include print ads, as well as counter displays and pamphlets in member stores of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the American Pharmaceutical Association (Californa Healthline, 4/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.