Lunesta Ads Score Highest For Recall

by , Nov 30, 2006, 5:00 AM
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Two television ads for Sepracor's sleep aid Lunesta, with the iconic moth, are the most memorable prescription drug ads on TV, according to IAG Research. Lunesta also took the top spot as most recognized prescription drug brand advertised during primetime.

The most recalled 60-second Lunesta spot, via McCann-Erickson HumanCare, shows the "luna moth" fluttering about while images of people are seen having restful sleep with the voiceover: "Are you at home trying to sleep, but your mind is still at the office..." The flying moth, which is the most memorable ad element, is also incorporated into the end of the spot, fluttering around the final shot of the Lunesta brand name against a dark background. A second spot in the campaign ranked second, according to IAG, which released the category's effectiveness ratings yesterday.

Referring to direct-to-consumer ads for the past season as "some of the best in class," IAG attributes high-quality drug ads to the fact that the industry now has 10 years of experience in the area. Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) prescription drug advertising only started when the Food and Drug Administration loosened its regulations on ad content.

"The use of brand icons, effective application of humor and relatable storylines have become more widely integrated and effectively executed [versus] the format applied in the earlier days of drug promotion," said Fariba Zamaniyan, vp of IAG Research's Pharmaceutical Practice, in a statement.

Significantly, IAG reports, Lunesta advertising exceeds the average consumer recall among adults over 18 for any product category advertised on primetime TV, not just pharmaceuticals.

Advertising spending may have contributed to the campaign's impact, as Lunesta lead the sleeping aids category spending $161.9 million for the first six months of 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Sepracor spent $215 million on measured media to promote the brand in 2005, reports TNS.

Ads for Novartis' Zelnorm from Deutsch took third and fourth place for their recall levels in the category. DTC for Zelnorm, which is a drug for Irritable Bowel Syndrome broke several years ago.

Those attention-grabbing spots showed images of females raising their tops to expose their tummies revealing different symptoms written in marker. With individual sweaters being lifting separately, each woman's middle revealed a different symptom of IBD written in marker. While past years' ads showed women only (since the condition is more common among females), males were also incorporated in spots in this season's campaign.

Coming in fifth for recall was Schering-Plough's Nasonex campaign, via BBDO/New York, feature a bee, and an animated woman who sneezes but by the end is smelling flowers.

IAG Research measures effectiveness of TV advertising, product placement and viewer engagement with TV. These particular rankings are for drug campaigns launched during this past 2005/2006 television season.

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