Leveraging Geography In Erectile Dysfunction Advertising

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Rx advertising has become a major DTC category with brands such as Cialis and Viagra numbering among the top six mega-budget brands in 2011. While these are clearly national brands with coast-to-coast sales, our mission at TVB is to explore whether there are geographic sales anomalies that might present the Rx marketers with opportunity to optimize their ad spending beyond the national campaign. It stands to reason that this might be true. Not only are there differences in states’ insurance formularies that control drug reimbursement, but the actual incidence of the medical condition and patients’ acting to address it varies by geography.

We used 2011 Doublebase GfK MRI data and 2010 GfK MRI Market-by-Market data to look at ED incidence and its treatment across the country. Overall, over 33% of men who reported Erectile Dysfunction said that they use a branded prescription remedy to treat it. About 5% used a generic prescription remedy. Eight percent said that they used over-the-counter or home/herbal remedies. Nearly 40% said that they have or have had the condition but have not treated it. Those are our variables. It became clear to us that what we were looking for were places in the U.S. where there is a significantly over average incidence of ED and especially places where the likelihood of treating it with branded Rx was over average. 



What we discovered was a little surprising, although in hindsight perhaps less so. Rather than being skewed  East, West, North, and South, as is the case with many ailments and conditions, the incidence of the ED Rx target patient was much more driven by market size and type. The one big exception was Florida which contains 5 of the top 10 ED target markets. The ideal target markets tend to be mid- to top-50 range. They tend to be rather cosmopolitan as well. Below is the ranker with usage index vs. U.S. average:

Top ED Rx Target Markets Index to U.S.

  1. Miami (268)
  2. Denver (245)
  3. Orlando (236)
  4. West Palm Beach (190)
  5. Tampa (177)
  6. New Orleans (170)
  7. San Francisco (166)
  8. Ft. Myers-Naples (159)
  9. Cleveland (148)
  10. Baltimore (140)

These markets contain a  bit fewer than 12% of the population, about 15% of ED sufferers and an imposing 24% of sufferers who use prescription ED remedies. Where the average ED treatment to sufferer ratio nationwide was 33.5%, these markets had over half the sufferers, 51.5% using Rx. Clearly this list of markets contains an abundance of target audiences that make TV impressions that much more efficient!

So far, so good. But we wanted to see if we could reach even more than 24% of the users and still keep our ROI advantages intact. We decided to add five more high-density markets:

Top ED Rx Target Markets Index to U.S.

11. Washington DC (137)
12. St. Louis (136)
13. Portland, OR (129)
14. San Diego (128)
15. Columbus, OH (122)

The result: 31% of total users vs. 17.6% of total population and 22% of sufferers. And the total group of 15 markets is still 38% more likely to treat their ED with an Rx solution!

These are by far your best prospects. Consider this: Set aside 15% of your national plan budget and allocate it to spot TV in your high ROI markets. A dollar spent here will automatically yield more targeted consumers than your national spend and will result in a better media buy and more brand sales.

As an added incentive, this spot TV supercharging in key markets will actually improve the efficiency of your buy as well as the effectiveness. This is demonstrated in new SQAD research that TVB recently released. It shows that for the second quarter of 2112, spot TV is equal to network scatter on a CPM basis in Prime Time and more efficient in Early Morning, Early News and Late Fringe -- available at

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