Wednesday, August 22, 2007

'Round the Sphere: China, TV Ads, and Malls

Wow! The Blogger servers were down over one hour this morning, right after I posted about FDA testing TV ads in malls across the USA (see "FDA at a Mall Near You: The Manchurian Connection") and after sending an email notice to thousands of my subscribers notifying them of the new post. Talk about bad timing!

BTW, if you are a subscriber, I love you! I really do!

Other bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere had comments about the proposed FDA survey of consumers.

Ed Silverman over at Pharmalot, for example. gave the details as revealed by the FDA in the federal register -- a wonderful book, BTW; not too much murder or mayhem.

Ed, who may not believe in coincidences, questioned whether the announcement was in reaction to "a study in The New England Journal of Medicine [that] found that FDA policing of advertising has declined steadily in recent years." (See "FDA Will Examine Those Upbeat TV Ads").

Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists out there, but the FDA has proposed and may have even conducted a number of these "mall intercept" studies. I point this out in my blog over there at Pharma Marketing Blog (did I already mention my post to Pharma Marketing Blog on this topic? Yes? No? OK, here it is.)

Jacob Goldstein over at The WSJ Health Blog introduced the topic this way:

"A lithe woman dances her way through a field of flowers, or whatever. Maybe her hair’s blowing in the wind. She’s definitely smiling–a lot. Meanwhile, the monotone voiceover tells you about horrible things like diarrhea, swelling and heart disease. So what’s the real message about the drug being advertised–the woman’s winning smile or the announcer’s warning?" (See "The Pictures Are Happy, the Words Are a Bummer").
Other, less imaginative bloggers in the Sphere (who will remain nameless), came late to the game and more or less re-iterated what Ed already said about the link between the NEJM study and the FDA study. At least one of these other bloggers got the basic information wrong and reported that 2,000 people would be studied when actually only 1,020 will be surveyed (2,000 will be screened, but not all of them surveyed). Small point, but good journalists -- like Ed and Jacob -- get their facts straight!

But no blogger, other than myself that is, made the connection between this proposed study and China.

What caught my attention in the FDA announcement was that no-one who was able to read Chinese would be included in the study.

Whaaa! Is this racial discrimination? Has some law of the land been broken? Why exclude Chinese citizens over the age of 40, all of whom I assume read Chinese?

I am not going to reveal the reason for this here or how recent news about China imports come into the picture. You'll have to read my post over there at Pharma Marketing Blog to find out.

BTW, another story I linked to the FDA announcement was the one that was written up in the Newark Star Ledger and summarized by -- guess who! -- Ed Silverman over at Pharmalot, which is owned by -- guess who! -- the Newark Star Ledger (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

That story was about the measurement of saccadic eye motion, which provides a kind of window into subliminal thoughts (see "Drug Ads Are Ignored In The Blink Of An Eye").

Of course, I had already interviewed Lee Weinblatt, the inventor of the technology used to measure saccadic eye motion in subjects viewing print and TV DTC ads, in a July 25, 2007 Pharma Marketing Talk podcast (listen to it here -- it's quite entertaining and educational).

And I first published a synopsis of the technology in my FREE Pharma Marketing News e-newsletter (see "Stop Wasting $Millions on Ineffective DTC Ads!").

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1 comment:

pharmalot said...

John - I'm a big believer in coincidences. But I'm not much for strange timing. Anyway, I know the FDA was looking at this before the NEJM study was published, but it was still worth pointing out, just for the old-fashioned sake of it. See you round the mall,
ed at Pharmalot