"a silver World Wide Web (WWW) Health Award for the Rozerem Web site, and two DTC National Advertising bronze awards for most innovative campaign and best new brand of the year. The agency also won a Pharmaceutical Executive Ad Stars Award for a Rozerem TV ad co-created with Cramer-Krasselt and special recognition for co-developing one of the most "intriguing icons" of 2007—the Rozerem beaver featured in the ad."
AbelsonTaylor's website includes this gem:
"At the 16th annual Med Ad News Manny awards, AbelsonTaylor, won the 2005 award for most creative pharmaceutical ad agency. This marks the 10th year in a row that AbelsonTaylor has been given this accolade, a remarkable achievement sure to solidify our reputation as the most creative agency in the business."
I guess congratulations are in order. At least they're in order if you're content being creative, but not effective, which is all most agencies seem to be shooting for these days. You see, according to Brandweek,
"[Rozerem] is a distant sixth in its category, with a 2.4% share behind two unadvertised generics and the category's titans: Ambien (36.8% for Ambien, 17.5% for Ambien CR) and Lunestra (12.3%), per IMS Health. Worse, Takeda [Rozerem's maker] may have spent more on ads than the drug made back in sales: between January and September 2006, Rozerem earned $48.7 million in estimated wholesale revenue, according to IMS Health (that number does not include prescriptions handled by mail). But the company has spent nearly $100 million on ads, per Nielson Monitor-Plus."
Yes, you read that right, in the first nine months of the product introduction, Rozerem trails two UNADVERTISED generics in sales and has spent $2 in advertising for every $1 they made in sales.
But they've got 14 awards. Let's see, that's just about $7.14 million per award. Nice work.
I've written about Rozerem's problems before, specifically that the advertising ignores the killer brand story: this drug isn't habit forming. But try to get that from the ads. The competitors don't offer this unique benefit, but the ads focus on dreams/sleep which is exactly what all the other drugs in the category offer. The creative is different, but the benefit is exactly the same. So what's the reason to buy?
The whole thing reminds me of this post from David Taylor at Where's the Sausage about David Ogilvy who introduced an award for the ad that did the most to increase sales for the client. It came with a $10,000 prize and this inscription: “If you, my fellow copywriters or art directors, want to win the award, devote your genius to making the cash register ring.”
None of this is to say that creative advertising doesn't work. Clearly it does. But it works best when the people making it don't forget that their first (and possibly only) job is to move product.
And as an agency, isn't that the the very best brand story you could share with your clients?