The team at Diversified Marketing was eager to market-test their ad for a new drug, Zanlaxa™.
“We couldn’t have been prouder. I loved what we produced for our Big Pharma client,” said Diversified CEO, Glenn Haberstove. “Unfortunately, the focus group reviews weren’t great.”
The video advertisement is an industry-standard thirty seconds long. More than half of that running time is taken up by a list of gross and painful possible side effects.
The target demographic focus group began with positive reviews.
“When I hear the made-up word Zanlaxa™ it sounds like a mashup of ‘zen’ and ‘relax.’ I like it,” said one respondent.
That’s where the good news ended.
From another comment card: “What do I remember about the ad? They mentioned ‘bleeding from the eyes’ as a possible side effect. That’s awful. I thought that only happened in horror movies. Now I’m freaked out.”
“Come on,” whined Haberstove. “No one listens to that whisper voice at the end of drug ads. Sure, it’s required by law. But these side effects are possible, not guaranteed.”
Other members of the focus group expressed similar concerns.
“I liked it at first. Sad cartoon lady walking in a field of flowers. A bird with Zanlaxa™ written on its side lands on her hand. Then she’s happy. The lady and the bird skip through the forest. Good so far, right? But while they’re skipping, the voiceover says you might get ‘gangrene of the taint.’ How is that even possible?”
Another commenter was far more descriptive.
“Permanently explosive diarrhea, collapsed lung, chronic clogged sinuses? What the hell is this drug supposed to cure? Good news bad news. Your disease is cured, but you have explosive diarrhea For the rest of your life? I’ll take my chances with the disease.”
Diversified CEO Haberstove wasn’t ready to give up yet.
“Our only option now is to try again by hiring a new focus group.”