October 29, 2019

The Only Prescription…is Music in Pharmaceutical Commercials

Tuesdays With Coleman

I am 46 years old, which means I fall squarely in the wheelhouse of Generation X.

I’m now in the upper end of the 25-54 demo (if you’re like me, the moment you check the 45-54 box for the first time is the genesis of realization).

Most people tell me I don’t look 46.

I don’t feel 46, except when I throw my back out or my shoulder fails me during Sunday morning basketball.

And thankfully, I can always count on prescription drug commercials to remind me that I’m still really young!

Take the new TV spot from Trelegy, an inhaler for COPD patients.

 

 

“Tre-le-gy…power of 1-2-3.”

Hey! That’s The Jackson 5!

“ABC” came out in 1970. If you graduated high school the year it was a current, you’d be 67. Seems to make sense from a targeting standpoint.

Perhaps you’ve seen the spot for Ozempic a non-insulin medication to lower your blood sugar.

“Oh-oh-oh-Ozempic”

Hey! That’s Magic by Pilot!

“Magic” came out in 1974. If you graduated high school the year it was a current, you’d be 63. Also seems to make sense from a targeting standpoint.

Then, most recently, I came across the spot for Jardiance. Like Ozempic, Jardiance is a medication used to treat Type 2 diabetes.

The spot for Jardiance doesn’t blatantly use a classic song for its jingle, but listen carefully to the music bed. It didn’t hit me at first, but when I recognized it, I let out a deep sigh and hung my head low.

 

 

No. Oh, no. It’s a jazzy version of “Apache (Jump On It)” by The Sugarhill Gang.

“Apache” was released on the album “8th Wonder” in….1981.

The prescription drug companies have done it…using 80s music in their spots. Warning us about urinary tract infections over a Hip Hop classic no less.

But you know what? That’s what they should be doing.

Campaigns evolve because we evolve. Deciding when to make targeting shifts is a tricky proposition for advertisers. It’s a challenge for anyone in charge of producing content – from TV networks to the movie industry to radio stations to podcasters.

But, it’s also a necessity. One of the things our clients tell us they find most valuable in their research studies is the guidance they get regarding things like shifting music tastes and the age relevance of their content.

Drug companies shouldn’t target their potential customers the same way they did 10 years ago, and the same is probably true of your brand.

So just wait, 40 year-olds….you graduated high school the year The Backstreet Boys dropped “Quit Playing Games With My Heart”.

In 25 years, you’ll hear it in a Lipitor commercial.

Authors

8 thoughts on “The Only Prescription…is Music in Pharmaceutical Commercials”

  1. John Baker

    Actually the year was 1960, not 1950, by the Shadows. Ventures covered it in 1962. Sugar Hill guys were probably not born in 1960 or in diapers. Check out the 1969 version on You Tube

  2. Marcus

    This Jardiance spot for has been bothering me to no end, wondering what that ‘tune’ was.. Thanks for making this clear now. I noticed all the other pharmaceuticals have been using popular baby boomer songs lately. I bet they have to pay handsomely for the privilege even if it’s a ‘Jazzy’ version of a popular song. Reminding these baby boomers of happier times when they were healthy

    Like you said, I’m also 47 and I’ve noticed financial planning spots have bee playing 80’s songs (not the elevator version) Like Fidelity using The Fixx in their commercials. Or OMD’s ‘If You Leave’., I guess I’m in that demographic that starts thinking about making sure retirement is in order. And to be honest I have been checking my 401k lately to see if it’s on track. Sad but true..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>