All Eyes on You
Rather than reaching for the market-research standby, pharma marketers are now taking advantage of an old technology that can tell exactly what consumers are looking at when they see an ad.
Eye-motion detectors have been used for nearly 35 years to electronically show what the mind is seeing, and companies like PreTesting use the technology to study how people react to ads, package designs, and displays. The device detects what areas are viewed or ignored in ads, what type of art best catches peoples' attention, and—for pharmaceutical ads—whether the consumer reads the risk/benefit information. Here, I review a series of print ads and explain why they work and, more importantly, what could have been done better.
This ad would have been more effective as a two-page spread. The blue box at the top would have worked better on the left. And the creators should have saved all that room spent on Lilly at the bottom and pushed the copy down at least half an inch. They also should have taken a key line and made it bolder and larger in the copy.
The problem this ad has is the gentleman's hand: The white text is difficult to read on top of the skin tone. Fortunately, reader's eyes are drawn to the black-on-yellow copy. In this particular case, it helps, because people were curious what that copy meant. It was a gamble that worked, but most of the time it would fail.
There are several mistakes here. First is the headline: It isn't easy to read against the background. Second is the body copy underneath: "It is the first and only prescription sleep aid that...shows no potential for drug abuse or dependence." Why is that there? Why isn't that as big as "Your Dreams Miss You"? If that's their key point, it should be in bold letters.
Rozerem has invested a great deal of money in an integrated campaign incorporating print ads and television commercials. This particular ad, on its own, does not readily convey what the product does or its benefits. In fact, our test showed that fewer than 3 percent read the key copy in the third line describing this product's uniqueness.
The background of the Pataday ad made readership of the key copy (across the eyes) almost impossible, as was readership of the product in the lower right corner. For a new product, it is highly unusual for the ad design to so overwhelm the copy as to make it unreadable. There was almost no opportunity to brand the product, and it's ironic that this is a product for eyes when the copy is so difficult to see. Also, breaking up a line of copy right across the center of the ad—as is done to the right and left of the eyes—is not recommended.
Lee Weinblatt is founder and CEO of PreTesting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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