Leveraging Geography In High Cholesterol Advertising

Cardiovascular disease (which includes heart attacks, stroke, angina pectoris, atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis, and high blood pressure) remains the number one killer in North America, and high cholesterol levels bring on an increased risk to these diseases.

According to Kantar Media, the top advertising spender in 2011 for the prescription medication category was Pfizer’s Lipitor, a cholesterol prescription. Also in the top 20 was another cholesterol prescription, Astrazeneca’s Crestor. While these are national brands with coast-to-coast sales, our mission at TVB is to explore whether there are geographic sales anomalies that might present the pharmaceutical marketers with an opportunity to optimize their ad spending beyond the national campaign. Our analysis revealed there were two key factors indicating a very definitive geographic story.  Not only were 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 GfK MRI Market-by-Market data to look at the high cholesterol incidence and its treatment across the country. Overall, 37% of adults who reported having or having had high cholesterol said they used a branded prescription remedy to treat it, while 38% said they used a generic prescription remedy. Eight percent used a non-prescription or a home/herbal remedy, and another 10% have not sought out treatment.”  

With those variables, we began to look at the markets where the respondents indexed higher using a branded prescription remedy.  Looking at the top 75 markets, we see the 15 highest indexing markets contain 12% of the households in the U.S., 14% that really resonated with intended audiences of the high cholesterol sufferers, and 15%of the high cholesterol sufferers who use a branded medication.

Top High Cholesterol Rx Markets 

Index to U.S.

Ft. Myers-Naples, FL


West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL


Buffalo, NY


Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA


Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, PA


Wilkes Barre-Scranton, PA


Pittsburgh, PA


Hartford & New Haven, CT


Providence-New Bedford, RI-MA


Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY


Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota), FL


Richmond-Petersburg, VA


Philadelphia, PA


Toledo, OH


Greensboro-H Point-Winston Salem, NC


So far, so good, but let’s see what happens when we add in five more high density markets. 

Top High Cholesterol Rx Markets 

Index to U.S.

Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH


Jacksonville, FL


Boston (Manchester), MA-NH


Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-And, SC-NC


Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL


The result: We now reach 18% of the households in the U.S.,20% of the high cholesterol sufferers, and 22% of the high cholesterol sufferers who use a branded medication.

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, return-on-investment 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 the new SQAD research that shows 2012 Spot TV is equal to network scatter on a CPM basis in Primetime, and more efficient in Early Morning, Early News and Late Fringe for the second quarter of the year. 

Next story loading loading..