Unbranded Efforts Are Making a Promotional Comeback


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In the world before DTC, pharmaceutical companies invested in unbranded promotion to educate physicians about disease states and to create market growth. Then DTC came along and replaced most unbranded promotional efforts. But the unbranded message is making a comeback today; our experts say this movement is being driven by more stringent regulations, increased FDA scrutiny, and new online communicating opportunities.
“Unbranded promotion is thriving,” says Barry Schmader, executive VP, chief creative officer, at Dudnyk. “There’s a big wait-and-see attitude toward DTC promotions right now, and people are anticipating a future where there might be pull back and more limits on DTC.”
Mr. Schmader is referring to a bid from several legislators for a two-year moratorium on DTC advertising for new drugs, a move that has been in congressional discussions since 2005.
Unbranded strategies are not new in the pharma space, Mr. Schmader says, but the method took a back seat to DTC when the regulations changed in 1997 and the industry turned its focus to branded product messages that…

Nonbranded Advertising, Share of Total DTC
2009 Nonbranded ­Advertising spend by ­therapeutic category
Video and Disease Sites Impact E-Patient Behavior

Experts on this topic
Nick Colucci. President, CEO, Publicis Healthcare Communications Group, a member of Publicis Groupe SA, a healthcare communications agency. For more information, visit
Michael Parks. Executive VP, Vox Medica, a strategy-based healthcare marketing communications company, providing concepts for clients across the healthcare spectrum and around the world. For more information, visit
Barry Schmader. Executive VP, Chief Creative Officer at Dudnyk, which offers full-service marketing, communications, and branding for the healthcare industry. For more information, visit