Picture this: A middle-aged man is running a marathon. He's pushing himself hard, straining every muscle. Sweat flows down
his grimacing face. He's passing several competitors, including a few who appear younger. Feeling a mix of inspiration and
envy, we ask ourselves: How does he do it? Then a voiceover tells us this man lives a full life thanks to his arthritis medication.
No magazine ad could convey that message as vividly as motion video. Yet pharma's traditional use of motion video—television
commercials—has its limitations, too: Viewers remain passive observers who can't interact with the presentation of information.
But advances in broadband technology are changing that. Pharma marketers can combine the impact of video with the on-demand
interactivity of the web to engage and involve both consumers and professionals. It's called rich media, and it uses a variety
of menus, links, and controls to engage viewers and encourage interactivity. That not only captures their attention, but also
holds and directs it toward information-rich experiences and offers, in contexts ranging from promotion to education through
Rich media websites engage customers by allowing them to interact with the sites content on a number of levels.
The stuttering, stamp-size images once associated with internet video are a thing of the past. Broadband has closed the quality
gap between TV and streaming video, and increasing numbers of people now have access to it. According to data from Nielsen/NetRatings,
broadband connections reached 51 percent of US online households this past summer, and a May 2004 study by the Diffusion Group
found that almost 45 percent of US dial-up households want to upgrade to broadband in the next 12 months. According to a Healthcare
Information and Management Systems Society (HIMMS) survey, the numbers are even more compelling among healthcare professionals:
A whopping 91 percent of US physician practices have broadband connections.
Did You Know?
To preview rich media's potential impact, just look at the automobile industry. Eighty percent of new car purchases begin
on the web. TV commercials for cars are now increasingly designed to drive traffic not to the showroom, but to the website,
where video tours, detailed technical specs, and links to dealer sites can prompt an order or a visit to the car dealer. In
model year 2004, DaimlerChrysler increased its internet spending 461 percent over 2003; Toyota upped its spend 109 percent,
and Mitsubishi and Mazda raised it by 100 percent.
According to Nielsen/NetRatings, online healthcare promotion is also growing. During the second quarter of 2004, industry
spent 35 percent more than it did in the same period in 2003. It seems certain that in the next 12 months, pharma will continue
to grow their online budgets as they increasingly use the web to market their products like automobile manufacturers.
The Three When accessing information or entertainment, customers want to