What is it about this image that someone has concluded will draw people to ask their doctor to prescribe this medication? I have to guess that BMS's ad agency conducted focus group sessions, testing out this photo against others. I wonder what other faces were offered?
Can we parse this fellow's visage? It is a male with gray hair showing. Is this meant to send the message that he understands the problems of older men? Perhaps people would view him as ruggedly handsome, so is the company playing to the fear of men that their virility would be at risk with AF? And that this problem would be solved by Eliquis? (I thought that product was sildenafil citrate, produced by a competing firm, Pfizer.) How do any of these factors relate to the other target audience, women?
So I decided to call the 855-ELIQUIS number and ask. A friendly and helpful person answered. I wondered who the person in the ad was, saying that I assumed it was someone notable who was endorsing the product. The person on the phone said she would research that question. She returned shortly thereafter and said that she was sorry, but they "didn't have any information on that question at this time."
I went to our favorite source, Google. On January 24, 2013, Medical Marketing and Media noted the FDA's late-2012 approval of the drug and reported:
The company sees advertising and promotion spending “increasing in the high single-digit range” for 2013....
“Higher spending is strategically prudent to assure a successful Eliquis launch,” said CreditSuisse's Catherine Arnold in an analyst note.
But no hint of a rationale for this photo.
But not to worry. The FDA is on the case. MMM reports:
According to OPDP (Office of Prescription Drug Promotion), “Our objective as an agency is to increase the quality of DTC (Direct to Consumer) ads so they do not contain any misleading information and instead provide patients with good information about prescription drugs and medical conditions.”
So whatever the rationale for this photo, we can be confident that it contributes appropriately to consumer understanding of this drug and does not attempt to use any subliminal messaging to encourage people to use it.