A Refreshingly Plain Spoken Approach Prospects Relate to

by TedV

Is there anyone out there that really likes the pharmaceutical commercials we see on television these days? Do you want to take one of the pills described for your ailment when you learn that it might lead to horrendous consequences? Can you relate to taking a treatment that could cause a rash leading to death for an illness that has nothing to do with your skin?

I am not endorsing any product, pharmaceutical or over-the-counter medication mentioned. I am discussing clever television advertising.


An over-the-counter anti-itch treatment, Tricalm, is taking a different approach – using humor and making fun of scientific explanations to gather audience attention and make appealing and clear statements about its features and benefits. Relevance by way of shared disdain for overly intellectual drug related pontifications on television.

Regarding commercials that must comply with regulations

By law if a prescription drug ad mentions an ailment the ad has to list the possible side affects. Logically no one likes to hear such “truth in advertising,” but these commercials are on the rise, not decline. I wrote about a company promoting a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) medicine by not mentioning it is a RA medicine. Wyeth/Amgen played a commercial where they promoted a website where people with RA could go for support – therefore they did not have to list possible disconcerting side affects of their drug. I declared it a significantly more tasteful approach.

Well, the ad ran only for a short time and not only have I not seen it in years, I have not seen any similar commercials. However, there are at least several RA related ads I have noticed on TV that list all the nasty possible side affects. They have played for a good while.

I hate these commercials and I hate even more the fact that since Big Pharma continues to spend more and more $millions on them, they must be effective as advertisements.

OTC is different

Over-the-counter treatments do not have to report every possible thing that could go wrong when you feed a lab rat a shoebox full of the med a day for 10 years. So this is not a fair comparison. But Tricalm’s advertising is refreshing by making fun of the technical medical talk. Here is the ad on YouTube.

A scientist – you can tell by the lab coat and the PhD vocabulary – starts to tell us all about the technical make-up of Tricalm and how it helps us. Of course no one with less than a pre-med or chemistry degree can fathom what he’s spouting. After about two sentences, a pleasant lady walks up to him and inserts into his drivel the translation into normal people English. Not only can you understand what she is saying, she uses about one word for every twenty he uses.

She finally states, “Oooh, no steroids – itch, burns, stings, gone,” and calls to her kid so she can go move her car. The scientist is completely bamboozled and ends with, “Who was that?”

I love it. I think others will too. I’m running over my skin trying to find a reason to go buy some to try.

The TV ad sends you to their website

The website is fairly clear of the scientific, although there are obvious links to take you to “How Does It Works,” and “Is It Safe?” Also, the site clearly links visitors to where to buy, and displays the URL to the commercial on YouTube.

After going through surprisingly little of the website you get to testimonials of happy users, all written in real-people English.”

Refreshing Relevance Marketing.


Ted Vinzani is a marketing, business development, and sales consultant who loves the role of pundit on how not to do Relevance Marketing. He tries diligently to explain how to be relevant in marketing, sales, and advertising. (It’s not that easy to do yourself.)

Follow Ted’s Monday through Friday marketing/sales/social media stream on Twitter at @Relevance.

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