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Pharma companies shouldn’t waste money on Fox News

Not long ago, Novo Nordisk and Allergan felt compelled to pull their ads from the Tucker Carlson Show on Fox.  They didn’t want to support what the provocative star of the show had said or might say in the future.

But my question is, why were the companies advertising on there at all?  Liberals should be the prime target for pharmaceutical direct to consumer ads, not Conservatives. Even though Liberals are the most upset about drug prices, my research shows that their attitudes toward pharma are more positive than Conservatives’.  The pharmaceutical industry hits a hot button for Liberals because, at its core, it focuses on care for people.

Not only are Conservatives not major supporters of pharma in general, in surveys they tell us that they are 17% less likely to ask their doctor about a new medication than the average.  That’s because they are more likely to have high respect for the authority that doctors represent.  For that reason, my research shows that they are more supportive for education of their doctor than for themselves. They are much more difficult to activate.

But when pharma companies do research on DTC, they don’t take political affiliation into account.   So, they end up uneasy bedfellows with Fox News.  And then the Liberals complain about the outrageous content on Fox……and pharma starts the cycle all over again, annoying their supporters while futilely trying to get Conservatives to ask their doctor.

In this politically polarized environment, it’s hard for brands to be neutral.  For Direct to Consumer Pharmaceutical ads, they shouldn’t even try.

What in your segmentation?  Have you paid attention to tribal loyalties and how they might affect your marketing strategy? 

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Karen Tibbals @KarenTibbals

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