Friday, March 03, 2006

DDMAC sees 'huge' jump in number of ads submitted for review

DDMAC sees ‘huge’ jump in number of ads submitted for review 



FDA Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications (DDMAC) director Thomas Abrams said that the agency has received “a huge increase” in print ads, TV and radio spots and scripts in the months since PhRMA called on companies to voluntarily submit ads for advanced scrutiny.  Abrams made the comments during a marketing conference hosted by the Drug Information Association, a report on The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Web site said.


“We have the same number of people,” handling a bigger workload, Abrams said. “At this point, it’s too early to tell how this will shake out.”


PhRMA spokesperson Ken Johnson said in the report: “We understand they are kind of buried right now. But this is a clear indication that the companies are following through.”  According to Abrams, most of the FDA’s 15 warning letters last year were prompted by inadequate warnings about a drug’s risks. He cited a journal ad for Quadrament, made by Cytogen, that he said falsely claimed to eliminate chemotherapy pain.   “These are very, very sick patients and to promise them hope like this is not in the interests of the public health,” he said.


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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Largest healthcare Web portal in China begins development

Largest healthcare Web portal in China begins development

The largest healthcare Web portal in China is now under development, according to Bridgetech Holdings International, the company behind the project. Bridgetech aims to bring Western healthcare products and services to China and is working on the Web project with the Wu Jieping Medical Foundation, a nonprofit under the Chinese Ministry of Health. According to the report, there is no market-leading source in China for reliable online health information. The site will provide information for both Chinese medical professionals and the public. The portal will include the latest research from China and the United States, and healthcare organizations from both countries will provide content for the site. The site has already received endorsements from Vanderbilt University and Johns Hopkins Medicine International affiliate Amcare, as well as several other Chinese and U.S. organizations.


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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

New health search site pulls information from various engines Adds Health Vertical Search to Its Search Platform; Healthline Partnership Enriches Medical Content in Response to In-Depth Queries

Business Wire via NewsEdge Corporation :

CHICAGO & SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 28,, a search platform for broad-Web and vertical search engines, today announced a partnership with Healthline, the leading Internet health search engine dedicated to consumer healthcare, to provide's users with a robust capability to search health-related topics directly on the site. Now visitors have access to the most relevant, comprehensive healthcare-related information and Medically Guided Search(TM) navigation tools, helping to empower them to make more informed, confident healthcare decisions. Consumers and healthcare professionals can immediately access's new health service by visiting or and clicking on the "Health" tab.

Through its partnership with Healthline, now offers information seekers access to Healthline's proprietary process for crawling indexing and ranking over 170,000 health and medical sites representing 130 million pages of content across the Internet. To present this information in medically accurate context, Healthline has developed the largest consumer health taxonomy of its kind, featuring an information classification system that delivers precise, relevant open Web results, related physician-reviewed articles and HealthMaps(R) -- Healthline's unique visual navigation tools -- to optimize the search experience for individuals seeking healthcare information.

"We are pleased to integrate Healthline's medically guided search expertise into's vertical search offerings," said Stephen Scarr, CEO. "Our newest search capability delivers the precision and accuracy of a vertical, health-dedicated search site that we believe our health information seekers will view as a 'one-stop-shop' for the most relevant information on a wide array of healthcare-related topics."

When utilizing the provided "Health Search" tool bar for specific terms and topics, retrieval of information is effortless and results are highly organized and easy to view. Healthline's search engine also matches consumer language with medical terminology, so that a search on a term such as "heart attack" will also return results that include references to "myocardial infarction" and "pericardial effusion."

" has created a one-source solution for easily obtaining accurate, comprehensive and relevant health information," commented West Shell III, Healthline CEO. "The search for health is the most important and difficult that consumers undertake. We see great potential partnering with companies like who understand the importance of helping their customers successfully navigate the vast, overwhelming world of complex medical information. Together, Healthline and deliver a compelling, best-of-breed vertical search solution that provides a powerful, diverse, content-rich experience for site visitors."

About is a search platform for broad-Web and vertical search engines. In an over-communicated and over-informed era, relevant and time saving information brands will become increasingly attractive to Internet users. seeks to be just that by providing a time-saving interface that seamlessly combines different search technologies into one site. provides results from the leading search engines and pay-per-click directories.'s vertical search providers include comparison shopping and product reviews, a broad selection of news, pictures, event tickets, eBay, jobs, flights, hotels, White and Yellow Page directories, weather, maps and directions. The company is headquartered in Chicago. For more information, visit

About Healthline

Healthline Networks, Inc. provides the easiest way for consumers to find, understand and manage healthcare information, empowering them to make more informed decisions that lead to better health. Created in collaboration with 1,100 physicians and medical specialists, Healthline's unique Medically Guided Search(TM) experience is powered by a consumer health taxonomy that encompasses nearly one million medical terms and synonyms -- the largest of its kind, and one that translates everyday language and precisely matches it to complex medical information. Healthline is defining the HealthWeb, a filtered directory currently consisting of more than 170,000 health-oriented websites and 130 million pages of medical content. Combined with the company's visual HealthMaps(R) and personalization tools, Healthline connects users with the information, people and resources not readily available through general search engines or today's online health destinations. Based in San Francisco, Healthline is backed by VantagePoint Venture Partners, Reed Elsevier Ventures, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and JHK Investments, LLC.

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Podcast Ad Market To Climb To $300 Million

Podcast Ad Market To Climb To $300 Million

by Shankar Gupta, Wednesday, Mar 1, 2006 6:00 AM EST
AD SPENDING IN PODCASTS WILL reach $300 million by 2010--up from an estimated $80 million last year, according to an eMarketer report released Tuesday.

"Activity so far and the fact that the podcast audience is very attractive to many companies make it highly likely that advertising and its cousin, sponsorship, are set to become an intrinsic part of the podcasting universe," stated the report. eMarketer also predicted that the U.S. podcast audience would reach 50 million by 2010--up from 5 million last year.

The report said that although the podcast audience isn't necessarily a mass market, it is nonetheless valuable. "Available data show that 18- to 35-year-olds are more aware of podcasting than other age groups, and that iPod ownership in the United States is skewed toward males, as is awareness of the term 'podcasting,'" the report said. "An audience of tech-savvy males aged 18 to 35 is extremely attractive to many advertisers."

The emergence of several podcast-dedicated advertising companies is evidence of the trend, the report contended. "Confirmation that podcast advertising is set to become a significant business has come in recent months with the launch of several companies devoted to bringing podcasters and advertisers together," the report said, citing Fruitcast, Podtrac, and Radio Tail as examples.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


And How Big Agencies Have Done Remarkably Little to Reinvent themselves
February 28, 2006
By Jonah Bloom

Media arts company

In this ROI-obsessed world, a world in which technology is bringing us closer to the number-cruncher’s holy grail of ads married directly to a consumer transaction, you have to wonder whether there is a sustainable business model for a company that creates media art.

It’s not easily measurable, yet weaving brands into culture in such a way that we no longer know where art finishes and commerce begins can occasionally yield brilliant brand results -- and would differentiate an ad shop from its media, direct and interactive siblings, which are better prepared for the one-to-one, transaction-focused ad world.

But I didn’t want to wax about Clow’s proposal here -- I’m not privy to his thinking -- so much as point out that the guy responsible for many great “ads” was prepared to contemplate the reinvention of a large ad agency as something quite different.

Fatally flawed

Despite an overwhelming mass of evidence that their business models are fatally flawed and their service offerings out of step with many marketers’ demands, the biggest agencies have done remarkably little to substantially reinvent themselves. It doesn’t seem to matter how many of their clients shift projects or even full-scale brand assignments to smaller, nimbler, flatter structured, less-30-second centric agencies, the biggest agencies seem reluctant to really blow up their model.

That’s not to say there have been no moves at all. John Dooner’s McCann Erickson has made smart use of Worldgroup to offer a multidisciplinary approach to marketers’ problems; Andrew Robertson’s BBDO has shown willingness to make personnel changes and is evolving from a 30-second-obsessed agency into a flexible organizer of collaborating Omnicom shops; and Ogilvy has shifted to a single P&L to eliminate financial barriers to collaboration among its disciplinary units.

Layers of bureaucracy

But all the big ad agencies still have layers and layers of bureaucracy, rampant job-title inflation and hundreds of people whose chief role seems to be managing up. Their product has barely changed (you could count the genuinely big ideas from the last 12 months on one hand), and I’ve heard at least three separate first-hand reports of people within those organizations who’ve had good non-TV ideas for a client being told that they’d have to be turned into TV commercials before they could be pitched.

I’ve recently been rereading “Re-imagine!,” management guru Tom Peters’ brilliant look at the new business order, wrought in large part by the Internet and which, he says, requires every modern business to constantly destroy and reinvent itself to survive.

Fear incrementalism

He takes issue with organizations that tweak rather than reinvent: “MIT Media Lab boss Nicholas Negroponte said: ‘Incrementalism is innovation’s worst enemy.’ Sad fact: Big organizations, by their very nature, are addicted to incrementalism ... they seldom make the changes necessary to deal with a discontinuous environment. ... Most big enterprises that survive a challenge from an upstart do so as shadows of their former selves. Still alive. Still big. But no longer the pathfinders.”

Lee Clow sounds as if he still wants to be a pathfinder. How many others do, too?

~ ~ ~
*Bogusky and Clow, the industry’s pre-eminent creatives, had come together to interview each other as part of the upcoming celebration of Creativity magazine’s 20th anniversary, and you’ll be able to put Lee’s remarks in a little more context when their one-on-one is screened on and next month.

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We Need Good Ideas Not More Agency Layers

We Need Good Ideas Not More Agency Layers

NOELLE WEAVER: The term ‘creative integration’ seems to be popping up a lot these days.

Much like the rest of the world, it seems our industry is experiencing a ‘convergence’ of our own. Media agencies are hiring strategists. PR agencies are hiring creatives. Interactive agencies are hiring media planners. Creative agencies are adding pr.

I’ve been reading the news about Publicis’ new media consultancy Denuo and how they are combining their digital and creative groups. Not into one P&L, but into one area of the agency.

And while I applaud Publicis for taking active steps to confront the issues of this brave new ad world, I can’t help but think that no matter where you sit, put in charge of TV ads you will create TV ads, put in charge of an online campaign you will create an online campaign. And so it goes. But who’s in charge of creating the brand-new-do-we-dare-be-the-first-to-try-this idea? And more importantly, by working in silos, will all these ideas strategically flow together? Or will they come across as one-offs where someone took the time to make sure the integration check-boxes were each filled?

Do we have an online campaign? Yes! Do we have ample print? Yes! Have we thought about outdoor? Yes!

Okay. Maybe I’m jaded and I’ve spent too many of my years watching the higher ups call in the media agency 3 days before the big pitch and shaking hands with the direct marketing team 15 minutes before the client is due to arrive.

But is the solution adding more agency layers and titles? Or is it changing the very way we approach the problem?

The agency that I work for is unique in that we sit down at the table with a mix of account, creative, interactive, pr, media, speechwriters, digerati and cultural hunters to brainstorm ideas. Titles, job functions and hierarchy are all put aside for an hour. From day one everyone sits at the table. Great ideas feed other great ideas. And in this day and age you never know where or from who a great idea will come from. Or where it will land.

Shouldn’t all of us be focused on finding the best way to reach the consumer? [And not who comes up with the idea?]

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Companies Seen Boosting Efforts In Disease-Education Programs

Companies Seen Boosting Efforts In Disease-Education Programs


AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Codman (a unit of J&J) are the latest pharma companies to increase efforts in disease education campaigns, with AZ launching a program for breast cancer awareness, Lilly for depression ( and Codman for the neurological condition NPH. Pfizer is running an unbranded awareness campaign for pain management and a Web site with erectile dysfunction education.


While disease education still represents less than 10% of a typical brand’s promotion budget, there is growing evidence of a shift away from branded ads to education efforts. Last year, several companies launched disease education programs around migraine, cholesterol and peripheral artery disease.


Spending on disease education exceeded $14 billion in the first half, or 6% of total DTC spend (see chart on page 8 for 2000-05 comparison).


Disease-oriented ads will become more prevalent as pressure increases on companies to reign in drug prices. Education programs can prompt new users and encourage adherence among existing patients. For AZ, this is the first time the company has focused on the risk of breast cancer recurrence and the need to be compliant with prescribed medication. The program includes a TV spot called “If You Were My Sister.”


Pfizer will boost spending on disease education efforts next year, allocating roughly the amount it spends to promote a single brand. Asked at the recent FDA hearings about the impact of unbranded help-seeking ads, Pfizer U.S. Pharmaceuticals president Pat Kelly said general disease awareness ads “do not drive patients to the doctor to anywhere near the degree that information about a solution or a potential solution will.”



* Branded ads are being supplemented by disease education programs for two reasons. First, FDA and DTC critics wants to see more of these ads, and it is good business to raise awareness of diseases and conditions treated by drugs made by the sponsoring company, particularly as adherence becomes a more important part of marketing programs.


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