T3 Prescribes Humor in Online Pharmacy’s $20 Mil. U.S. Intro
DALLAS–Rx.com, an online pharmacy and health information resource, this week launches a $20 million national advertising campaign.
Although the planned media budget is significant, the series of television commercials may seem even more pervasive due to a deal inked last year with CBS Corp. The communications conglomerate acquired a 20 percent stake in Rx.com in exchange for $37.5 million worth of advertising and promotional considerations under a four-year agreement.
The first-time advertising effort for the Austin, Texas-based Rx.com comes from local agency T3. The work features a goofy pair of pharmacists in lab coats running around and spreading the word about the new e-tailer.
Said executive creative director Jay Suhr, “A lot of the humor comes from the fact that pharmacists are generally seen behind a counter; most people don’t even think they have lower extremities. We thought it would be funny to put them in the real world, sort of a fish-out-of- water scenario.”
Indeed, the bumbling pharmacists seem out of place in their white lab coats as they visit a nightclub, a coffeehouse and a shopping mall, and ride in a taxi.
T3 director of account service Tom Breedlove said putting a face, even a silly one, on the client was integral to the branding strategy.
“We tried to work first on the trust portion of the equation,” Breedlove said. “[Buying pharmaceuticals] is not like buying CDs and books online; it’s a much scarier proposition–my health records are involved as well as my credit cards.”
Breedlove said the humor in this campaign avoids the “out-there” excesses of some other dot.coms. “The name of the game here is obviously to raise awareness, but it’s also about resonating with customers as well,” he said.
A print campaign with faux drug label statements, such as “Warning: May cause more free time,” will appear in publications including Modern Maturity, Parade and Redbook. Other media components include billboards and radio spots featuring on-air program host Paul Harvey.
Rx.com partnered with T3 last year after splitting with GSD&M of Austin. A lawsuit filed against the first agency was settled out of court earlier this year. K
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