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Lidings’ Partner Highlights the Results of the Best Pharmaceutical Products Advertisement Contest

The Award ceremony of All-Russian contest for the best OTC pharmaceutical products video clips and printed ads took place in Moscow on April 7th within the Fifth practical conference “Promotional strategies of pharmaceutical products and brands” organized by Infor-media Russia took place in Moscow.

As we participated in the analysis of all video clips presented from a legal point of view, we would like to point out some moments which seemed the most typical.

The first thing, which attracted our attention was the fact, that videos of OTC drugs appeared in contest together with advertizing of bio-additives: it could be traced even without looking in the instruction of each advertized preparation, it was enough to read a cautionary warning on the screen . In those cases, when bio-additives became the subject of advertizing, the inscription said: "Is not concerned as medicine". On the one hand, this completely corresponds to the legislation. On the other hand, this shows once again that when viewing advertizing the viewer pays not enough attention to the text in it in general – and to the text of a cautionary warning in particular.

As may be required by Law, advertizing of bio-additives must differ from advertizing of medicine not only in cautionary warning; the confusion of  the consumer’s perception of these two types of goods is not allowed – here the Law operates with very subjective concept as "Impression". Advertisement of bio-additives shouldn't make impression that a medicine is advertized. At all subjectivity of criteria of control, nevertheless, it is possible to try to find rational criteria of what makes "impression of medicine", and what does not.  So, for example, usage of such phrases during scoring videos like "Helps against illness ", "Treats", "For health" is clearly aimed to create "impression of medicine". For comparison – phrases about "beauty", "youth"  have definitely less affiliation to drugs and therefore appear to be much more appropriate in advertisement of bio-additives.

One more moment which we would like to mention is creation of impression of uselessness to consult a doctor. Here we again deal with legislative restriction which is only traced  through subjective "impression" of the controller. Nevertheless, in some commercials we can see rather courageous statements, which not even so much through impression, as through the rules of formal logic lead us to the "wrong" conclusion that accepting an advertized preparation, it is not necessary to visit the doctor. For example:

(i) "Daily consumption [of our medicine] prevents the risk [of serious illness]" (conclusion: if I take a medicine – the risk will be eliminated; so why should I go to the doctor? ) ; or
(ii) "It is so easy to pick up what is necessary – one dose [our medicine] at the first symptoms, four doses [our medicine] at exacerbation" (conclusion: if there is no disease – take no pills, the disease only appears – take one pill, the disease exacerbates– take several pills; again, there is no space left for visiting a doctor).

And finally problem of "No. 1" which seemingly becomes immemorial for advertizing – and not only of medicines. Here it is necessary to remember that the statement about "No. 1" will be considered as unfair advertizing in each case when the advertiser will not be able to prove its validity. Therefore such statement usually goes together with some specifications. If in scoring of a video there are no such specifications, and the video series bears a fat inscription "No. 1" with an asterisk and bio-additives readable explanations – we deal with a risk of recognition of such explanations as unreadable and, therefore, absent in advertizing. The result of such situation is that it will be needed to prove fidelity of the statement about "No. 1" without any additional explanations and if that is not proved, the advertizing has to be recognized as unfair.

In conclusion we would like to mention that the best in the contest was recognized the advertisement of a vitamin product. We congratulate the winner!

All contest's video clips can be found on the event's official website.

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