Don’t Cry It’s Just A Drug Name

Posted October 2, 2017 by

If you have turned on your TV in the last few months chances are you have seen commercials for pharmaceuticals, because let’s face it, they seem like they are always on. These advertisements have begun playing on human emotions, pulling at the heart strings of those watching with familiar scenes of everyday moments and the feelings they elicit.

At the end of the day these commercials are effective because they grab the attention of the audience, whether they directly suffer from that ailment or not. Prior to human emotions being utilized so heavily in pharmaceutical advertising, commercials used to be more ridged and abstract due to strict regulatory guidelines.

Based on watching just these two commercials – the first from 2016, and the second from 2007 – the difference is clear, with a connection built and felt more with the Cymbalta commercial because of the emotional tie. Even though this is a recent trend that has started to become more popular in commercials, in pharmaceutical naming emotions have been leveraged for quite a while.

When a client is trying to find a name for their product, often times they will associate human emotions or feelings with it so they can better describe the name they are looking for. This is really only human nature, think about giving your car a nickname, you gravitate towards names that reflect how you feel in the car (i.e., a red car makes you think of fast and feel exhilarated leading to the name “Daytona”). That same thought process is what pharmaceutical clients go through throughout the naming process, using the emotions that patients and prescribers feel when they consume or administer their new drug.

There are three distinct naming styles that branding agencies and clients discuss early in the naming process, exploring and establishing the style that best fits the new pharmaceutical product. When you begin to discuss the human emotions and feelings of the drug and patient – as opposed to the functional aspects of the drug – names will take on the suggestive style, alluding to characteristics and feelings.

Emotions play a large role in the naming process, as they are a way to circumvent problems that can arise from using more descriptive names, including promotional or claims issues that prevent name approval from regulatory bodies. Aspirational or suggestive names do not communicate product benefits or function, instead focusing on more abstract messages that will resonate with the audiences such as the emotions of the patient or healthcare professional.

Healthcare branding and emotions have shown that they can go hand-in-hand and be very impactful, while still adherent to regulatory restraints. While we are just now beginning to see the trend in advertising, emotions have been used in pharmaceutical naming for years. Emotions help create impactful names that engage an audience and make them believe in your product. The best part about it, is you do not need a scene with a married couple running with their dog to make the audience realize and believe that your drug is the best, you just need a great name.


Advertising | Branding | Healthcare

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