Sunday, May 18, 2014

A national ad campaign targeting 0.03% of the population?

If you listen to AM radio or watch shows like 60 minutes or Sunday Morning w/Charles Osgood (yes, I know I'm 142 yrs old) you have probably heard or seen this new drug which is being advertised to treat a serious condition called non24.

Apparently, this something that is a real challenge for fully blind people because their eyes are unable to process the light around them so their bodies have a difficult time telling day from night and it can interrupt their sleep patterns.  Obviously, this is serious condition.

However, the more I thought about it I realized that this is targeting a very small addressable market.  Most estimates say there are roughly 80,000 fully blind people in the US or roughly 2.6 people out of every 10,000.  However, according to some ad spending websites, the company behind this drug is running this commercial nationally almost 1,000 times/week to target 56,000 potential customers (the company's own statistics say that about 70% of those suffering from total blindness also deal with non24)??

So, what gives?

I'm guessing Off-Label Use.  When listening to the commercial the company clearly identifies that this is for people that are totally blind, but they linger over words like "difficultly sleeping", "I was groggy", "sluggishness", "forgetfulness", etc., and ends with an appeal to a website to see if you have non24.  Off-label marketing is illegal, but off-label use is not necessarily illegal.  The skeptic in me thinks that this company would like to plant the seed in the minds of millions of Americans with sleep issues that "hey, maybe I have that non24 thing" because sometimes I'm tired.  Hopefully, I'm wrong but I won't be surprised if this company is trying to broaden it's user base with a little slick marketing.


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