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Month: May, 2013

The Best of Political Advertising: I Like Ike

1952 US Presidential Election Campaign

1952 US Presidential Election Campaign

Can a candidate for presidential elections be sold like a soap, soup or soft drink? That is the goal of political advertising. Like all advertising, political advertising is subjective, presenting a biased point of view. Christopher Malone, a political analyst at Pace University in New York once said, “ Don’t expect you’re going to get an objective voter information. That’s definitely out of question.”

President Harry S. Truman’s popularity plummeted by 1952, with the Korean War dragging into its third year. The political climate was turbulent with Senator McCarthy’s anti-Communist crusade stirring up public fears of an encroaching Red Menace and unprecedented disclosures of widespread corruption among federal employees. The country needed a hero for a president. President Truman did not seek reelection. Truman threw his support behind the reluctant Democratic nominee, Adlai Stevenson, who gave an eloquent keynote speech at the convention.

Both, the presidential candidate Eisenhower and the vice-presidential candidate Richard Nixon of the Republican party embraced the new technology of the black-and-white television for election campaigning. Eisenhower was stiff, and TV lighting made him look older. The opposing candidate, Adelaide Stevenson, was an eloquent speaker and therefore a formidable opponent. BBD&O (Batton, Barton, Durstine and Osborn), a Republican advertising agency decided and took charge of the entire campaign including the look and feel of Eisenhower to suit the campaign theme, Ike, the returning war hero.

Rosser Reeves of the Ted Bates agency was roped in to work on Ike’s television spots. He, for the first time in the history of American political advertising introduced television spots of short duration. He ran the TV ads targeting the undecided voters just three weeks before the elections, so that the Democrats would not have a chance to answer and run a counter campaign. Reeves wrote and tested about twenty spots and had Eisenhower come to the studio for one day. Eisenhower did not like the idea that he was being orchestrated, but reluctantly went along. Reeves then wen to find the typical Americans who would ask Ike the questions that went with one of the set responses. It was foolproof.

Eisenhower’s war-hero status and leadership projected sincerity, fairness, and optimism; his greatest asset was his popularity. His affection and respect for American Citizens made him the most likable and admired American during the 1950s. The 1952 Ike for President campaign is considered as one of the best political advertising campaigns.

Eisenhower won a sweeping election victory.

The eminently hummable campaign jingle written by Irving Berlin was pleasant and was an instant hit. Click here to watch one of the top-ten US presidential election promotional themes. Here is the transcript of the video:

Group Singing:

Ike for president, Ike for president, Ike for president,

Ike for president.

You like Ike,I Like Ike

Everybody likes Ike – for president

Hang out the banners, beat the drums,

We’ll take Ike to Washington.

We don’t want John or Dean or Harry.

Let’s do that big job right.

Let’s get in step with the guy that’s hep.

Get in step with Ike.

You like Ike, I like Ike,

Everybody likes Ike – for president,

Hang out the banner, beat the drums,

We’ll take Ike to Washington.

We’ve got to get where we are going,

Travel day and night – for president.

But Adlai goes the other way.

We’ll all go with Ike.

You like Ike, I like Ike,

Everybody likes Ike – for president,

Hang out the banner, beat the drums,

We’ll take Ike to Washington.

Ike for President, Ike for president, Ike for president,

Ike for president…

Male Narrator: Now is the time for all good Americans 

to come to the aid of their country. Vote for Eisenhower. 

Source: The Living Room Candidate.org – Commercials – 1952

Cialdini’s Clarity Principle

I'm blind

Robert Cialdini, the Arizona State University Professor is one of the most important social scientists of the last generation. He is best known for his work on principles of persuasion and influencing others. He explains the contrast principle quite succinctly. He says that we often understand something better when we see it in comparison with something else, than when we see it in isolation. Clarity depends on contrast.

Daniel H. Pink in his highly insightful and best selling book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others tells a story about the legendary advertising man Rosser Reeves in this context. While the precise details of the story are in doubt and not verifiable as it has been retold over the past fifty years, the power of the clarity principle is amplified. Here is the story:

One afternoon, Reeves and a colleague were returning after having lunch in Central Park to their office in Madison Avenue. On the way back they saw a man sitting in the park begging for money. He had a cup for donations with a handwritten cardboard sign that read: I am blind.

The cup contained only few coins as the blind man’s attempts to move others to donate money were meeting with little success. Reeves thought he knew why and told his colleague that he can dramatically increase the amount of money in the cup by simply adding four words to his handwritten cardboard sign. The colleague, who was skeptical challenged Reeves to do so.

Reeves went to the blind man, introduced himself and explained that he knew something about persuasive communication that can move others and offered to change the sign by adding just four words, which will make people stop and donate thus increasing the money in his cup. The beleaguered man agreed.  Reeves took a marker and added his four words and stepped back joining his colleague to watch.

Within a few minutes, a few people dropped coins in to the man’s cup. More people stopped as time passed and some have even dropped dollar bills in the cup. Before long, the cup was running over with cash and the once sad-looking blind man feeling his cup full with cash beamed.

What are the four words that Reeves added?

It is spring time and

The sign now read:

It is springtime

and I am blind.

We see the clarity principle at work here. Clarity depends on contrast. The blind man’s sign moved people in the park to empathize with him by starkly comparing their reality with his.

Image credit: C. S. Phanindra

The Ad That Created A Habit!

1929pepsodentprintad

Can you imagine that people in a wealthy, prosperous nation like America were hardly brushing their teeth over a hundred years ago, say in the early 1900s? And that the US Army officials were saying that poor dental hygiene was a national security risk when they found that so many recruits had rotting teeth when the government started drafting men for World War I?

Now can you believe that it was a sustained national advertising campaign for a product and an adman, who created or cultivated a habit of brushing teeth among the American population before the beginning of the twentieth century?

Yes and the adman was none other than the legendary Claude Hopkins, who wrote a classic book on Scientific Advertising. The Product? Pepsodent toothpaste.

Charles Duhigg describes the entire story of Pepsodent advertising campaign and the science behind it in his brilliantly written book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

Over a hundred years ago, one day in the early 1900s, Claude Hopkins a well-known advertising executive was approached by an old friend, who wanted a business idea for a toothpaste he created, Pepsodent. He believed that the marketing opportunity was huge and requested Hopkins to help him design a national promotional campaign.

Claude Hopkins had built a huge reputation by turning dozens of previously unknown products such as Quaker Oats, Goodyear Tires, The Bissell Carpet Sweeper, Van Camp’s Pork and beans into household names. Hopkins at the first suggestion of creating advertising campaign for Pepsodent was only mildly interested. Although there was an opportunity for dental hygiene as the health of Americans’ teeth was in steep decline due to the heavy consumption of sugary processed foods by Americans in their newly found prosperity.

Hopkins knew that selling toothpaste was rather a financial suicidal as hardly anyone brushed their teeth during that period despite the nation’s dental problems. Hopkins finally agreed to undertake the campaign if his friend and the maker of Pepsodent gave him a six month’s option on a block of stock. The friend agreed. The rest is history.

With in five years of the partnership, Hopkins turned Pepsodent into one of the best-known products on earth and, in the process, helped create a toothbrushing habit across the whole American continent! What is more, a decade after the first Pepsodent campaign, polls indicated that toothbrushing had become a ritual for more than half the American population. Hopkins had helped create, cultivate and establish toothbrushing as a daily activity.

How did he do it? He defined a problem and offered a solution. The science behind Pepsodent advertising as Hopkins explained later, was that he had found a certain kind of cue and reward that fueled a particular habit. It’s a connect so powerful that even today those basic principles are used by video game designers, food companies, hospitals and millions of sales people across the world.

What did Hopkins exactly do? He created a craving. It is that craving that makes cues and rewards work. That craving is what powers the habit loop.

Pepsodent loop

To sell Pepsodent, Hopkins needed a trigger that would create a need for the toothpaste’s daily use. He dug deep, did lot of reading on the subject and found a reference in the middle of one dental book to the mucin plaques on teeth, which he called ‘the film.’ He said, “ That gave me an appealing idea. I resolved to advertise this tooth paste as a creator of beauty. To deal with that cloudy, yellow film.”

Despite the lack of medical evidence that a toothpaste helps remove the film, Hopkins decided to exploit his discovery. He decided that the ‘film’ as a cue could trigger a habit. Soon, cities were plastered with Pepsodent ads.

The ads said: “ Note how many pretty teeth are seen everywhere. Million are using a new method of teeth cleansing. Why would any woman have dingy film on her teeth? Pepsodent removes the film.”

Hopkins had found a cue that was simple, had existed for ages, and was so easy to trigger that an advertisement could cause people to comply automatically. To top it, the reward, as Hopkins envisioned it, was even more enticing. Who, after all, doesn’t want to be more beautiful? Who doesn’t want a prettier smile? More so when all it takes is a quick brush with Pepsodent? The campaign later was reinforced with television advertising. The very popular jingle of Pepsodent commercial is still remembered today. The rhyming lines are very easy on the tongue and reinforce the removal of the film and the beautification of the teeth: You wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent! Click here to watch the 1957 Pepsodent television commercial.

Within three weeks of the campaign, the demand exploded. The company could not keep up with the orders that were pouring in. Within a decade, Pepsodent was one of the top-selling goods in the world and remained America’s best-selling toothpaste for more than thirty years.

The medicine chests of Americans during the period reveal the proof of creating the habit of toothbrushing. A decade after Hopkin’s Pepsodent ad campaign went nationwide, over 65 per cent of Americans had a tube of Pepsodent in their medicine chests, a significant increase from a mere 7 per cent before Pepsodent. What is more, by the end of World War II, the US military downgraded concerns about recruits’ teeth because so many soldiers were brushing their teeth everyday!

Did you notice one conspicuous thing in the 1929 Pepsodent ad featured above? Hopkins gave reasons in the ad why  readers should try Pepsodent, but he did not attempt to sell them. Instead, he offered a 10-day trial. By doing that he removed all the risk from the consumer.

What problem does your product or service solve? Does your answer match with what you are marketing today?

Remember your prospects want solutions to their problems – not your actual products or services. Remember what Ted Levitt, the famous professor emeritus of Harvard Business School said long ago: The customer is not buying your 1/2-inch drilling machine, he is buying a 1/2-inch hole!

photo

Classic Case of Repositioning: Gender Re-assignment of a Brand

Marlboro ad Mild as May slogan (tawdryknickers-1.com)

What could be a more challenging repositioning strategy than a gender reassignment?

Philip Morris launched the Marlboro brand in 1924 as a woman’s cigarette, with a memorable advertising slogan, Mild as May. The company targeted the female audience in 1926, with a series of ads depicting a woman’s hand reaching for a cigarette. The cigarette advertising was primarily based on how ladylike the cigarette was. To this end, the filter had a printed red band around it to hide the lipstick stains calling it ‘Beauty Tips to Keep the Paper from Your Lips.’

During World War II, however the brand faltered and had to be taken off the market. Three new competing brands: Camel, Lucky Strike, and Chesterfields entered the market and gained a firm hold on the market further diminishing the value of Marlboro cigarettes.

In 1942, the July issue of Reader’s Digest published an article titled ‘Cigarette Advertising Fact and Fiction,’ which claimed that all cigarettes, regardless of brand, were essentially the same, and equally deadly. The research findings were gradually increasing and unveiling the link between smoking and lung cancer. This is when Philip Morris saw its chance to reintroduce Marlboro and market it as a safer filtered brand. The smokers, unable to breakaway from the habit of smoking, were willing to try new cigarette brands, particularly the filter cigarette brands as they were perceived relatively safer. There was a big window of opportunity for Marlboro as the consumers were switching to filter brands in  a big way. Marlboro, however, faced with a perceptual hurdle in introducing the new filter cigarettes, as they were carrying their previously well established feminine personality from Mild as May campaigns. The company had to change the personality of the brand from feminine to masculine targeting a new segment of customers: male smokers who were afraid of lung cancer. Philip Morris took the challenge to Leo Burnett Company of Chicago, a rapidly growing creative hot shop to reintroduce Marlboro. Leo Burnett did a remarkable job by repositioning Marlboro that has created history. He reassigned the gender to Marlboro from a feminine brand to a he-man brand. From Mild as may to the tattooed man!

Philip Morris reintroduced their new all-male Marlboro in the US in 1955 with the Tattooed Man campaign. An article in the Esquire magazine of June 1960 captured the new personality of the Marlboro smoker as a: lean, relaxed outdoorsman, a cattle rancher, a Navy officer, a flyer, whose tattooed wrist suggested a romantic past, a man who had once worked with his hands, who knew the score, who merited respect. The totally new, polar opposite of the earlier imagery, reinforced a masculine personality for the brand proving that there was nothing feminine about the new filtered cigarettes. The initial advertisements said:

Man-sized taste of honest tobacco comes full through, smooth-drawing filter feels right in your mouth. Works fine, but doesn’t get in the way. Modern flip-top box keeps every cigarette firm and fresh until you smoke it.

marlboro_man

Philip Morris found through its continuous monitoring of its advertisements and the different personalities of Marlboro Man, that the cowboy emerged to be the most popular character. A slew of campaigns followed featuring the cowboy as the Marlboro Man, who taught consumers about filters, promoted the flip-top box, and even enticed women to try the cigarette made for the men that women like. The geometric design of the red, white and black lettered flip-top box of Marlboro boosted the appeal of a strong independent individual. The Flip-top box was like a cowboy’s holster for his favorite gun making a statement. The box became a carrying card available to every one making the red box as a symbol of membership to the club that recognized the Marlboro Man as their spokesperson.

How did the Marlboro men gain the trust of millions? In a friendly, unpretentious, and honest voice. Joseph Cullman, then president and chief executive officer of Philip Morris in the Esquire magazine article described the Tattooed Man campaign as virility without vulgarity, quality without snobbery.

Every which way you look, the Marlboro Man is a classic case of repositioning a brand from a feminine personality to that of a macho personality. Indeed, it’s a classic case of gender-reassignment!

Which Pitch?

Which pitch 2

The word Pitch has several meanings one of which is promotion by means of an argument and demonstration such as sales pitch or sales talk. Sales pitch is a message issued on behalf of some product or cause or idea or person or institution by packaging new ideas to grab and sustain the much needed attention.

Pitch, therefore, is an essential means of communication to sell something, your idea, your capability, your cause, your product or your service. Daniel H. Pink in his best selling book, To Sell Is Human describes about six pitches that can be used for gaining and sustaining attention to get your point across successfully.

 1. The One-Word Pitch. In today’s times when attention spans are shrinking constantly the one-word pitch is your ultimate weapon to penetrate the prospect’s mind. Maurice Saatchi, the Cofounder of one of the world’s leading advertising agencies, Saatchi & Saatchi is credited with the creation of the one-word pitch. His logic was that the companies compete for global ownership of one word in the public mind. The one-word pitch, therefore, aims to define the one characteristic the company wants their brand to be associated with around the world, and then own it. That’s why they call it the one-word equity. When you hear the word search what comes to your mind? Google of course! One-word pitch may sound very simplistic. However, reducing your key selling points to that one single word demands discipline and forces clarity. Consider for example what President Barrack Obama did in his 2012 reelection campaign. He built his entire strategy around one word: Forward. That’s what a perfect one-word pitch can do for you.

2The Question Pitch. Questions often pack a surprising punch. This is because when someone makes a statement you can receive it passively. When a question is asked you are rather compelled to respond, either aloud if the question is direct or silently if the question is rhetorical. Think, therefore, next time when you have a strong case to make to a new sales prospect or a prospective employer whether to make your pitch a question or a statement.

 3The Rhyming Pitch. Rhymes, says Daniel H. Pink in his book, boost what linguists and cognitive scientists call processing frequency, the ease with which our minds slice, dice, ad makes sense of stimuli. Rhymes can enhance reason. Moreover, pitches that rhyme are more sublime. Consider the murder trial of the former football star in the U.S. O.J. Simpson. The jury exonerated O.J. Simpson, who was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend and one of the reasons was the famous rhyming pitch made by his Lawyer, Johnnie L. Cochran: If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.

4The Subject-Line Pitch. Subject-Lines are like headlines in an advertisement. In today’s internet era where emails have become more like a habitat than an application subject-lines have become very important in our lives which are inundated by endless emails fighting for our time and attention. However to grab and sustain attention subject-lines need to address three essential elements: utility, curiosity and specificity rather ultra-specificity.

5. The Twitter Pitch. The twitter-pitch is becoming rather omnipresent. It’s 140 character count puts a limit on loquaciousness. Consultants, universities, and recruiters are increasingly demanding a twitter pitch from the applicants besides their regular requirements. It’s increasing importance is understandable as it is quick, painless and to-the-point.  It has become important in everyone’s persuasion kit.

 6. The Pixar Pitch. Daniel Pink explains the origin of the Pixar pitch and how it can be created in his book To Sell is Human very succinctly. He says that Emma Coats, a former story artist at the Pixar studio, has cracked the Pixar code and created a template for a new kind of pitch. The code is based on the six Pixar films, which share the same narrative DNA, a deep structure of story telling that involves six sequential sentences: Once upon a time________, Everyday__________, Oneday___________, Because  of  that________________,Because____________, of____________that__________. Until_________________finally________________. Every story that you need to tell can be formatted into this template, which follows a logical sequence and a persuasive reasoning.

Daniel Pink’s advice on making a perfect pitch? There are three ways to learn and practice the six pitches: Practice, practice, practice. As you prepare and practice your pitch, choose the one most appropriate for the occasion and answer three questions: After someone hears your pitch,

1. What do you want them to know?

2. what do you want them to feel? and

3. what do you want them to do?

If you have got persuasive answers to these three questions, you’ve got an effective pitch.

Image credit: M.S.V.K. Prasad

Honesty is The Best Policy

Honesty  is  the best Policy

What is the best business policy? Honesty of course. Because the cost of hiding the truth can be very expensive. As high as half-a-billion dollars and more. Consider what happened to Ranbaxy very recently. Its U.S. subsidiary has agreed to pay $500 million in fines and civil penalties for selling adulterated drugs and lying about tests of the medications to federal regulators, the U.S. department of justice said on May 13, 2013.

The prosecutors said that the company agreed to a fine of $150 million as well as an additional $350 million penalty to settle civil claims, that it submitted false statements to Medicaid, Medicare and other government healthcare programs. About $48 million of that penalty will go to Dinesh Thakur, a former Ranbaxy executive, who is the whistleblower in this case for providing information that resulted in a settlement.

While Ranbaxy is not alone in paying the fines for hiding the truth and its unethical behavior, this is the largest financial penalty paid by a generic drug maker in the U.S. for violating the provisions of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). There are many members of the Big Pharma such as Pfizer, Merck, Glaxo SmithKline, Sanofi Aventis, Eli Lilly, Astra Zeneca, Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, and Boehringer Ingelheim, who collectively had paid over $13 billion in fines mostly for illegal uses for indications that were not approved and for hiding safety data since 2009.

Hiding the truth is indeed very expensive not only in monetary terms but also for eroding trust. And erosion of trust is far more expensive. In today’s turbulent times and rampant unethical corporate conduct, Honesty, which was a given as a basic human value in the past, has become a distinctive competitive advantage.

It is not that these companies are not aware of the fundamental fact that honesty is the best policy and that one should not lie. But why did they do it? Greed? Taking the system for granted?

As the world is increasingly becoming more interactive and transparent (transparency is not a choice any longer) companies and individuals would do well if they improve their Trustability. Trustability, advocate Don Peppers and Martha Rogers in their insightful book, Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage, that consumers will hold the businesses they buy from to a higher standard. They cogently argue that organizations do well to practice or rather move up from trustworthiness to trustability. They expect a company to be proactively trustworthy – that is, to protect their interests by preventing them from making a mistake, overlooking or forgetting something, paying more than they actually need to pay, or even buying more than they need.

What is the best policy for succeeding in life or business? Honesty, most certainly is the best policy!

Image credit: M.S.V.K. Prasad

The Servant Leader

Robert K. Greenleaf (1904 - 1990)

Robert K. Greenleaf (1904 – 1990)

It was Herman Hesse’s great fictional work, Journey to the East, that influenced and inspired Robert K. Greenleaf (1904-1990), an executive with AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph Company) in thinking about the Servant Leadership.

Greenleaf, who was captivated by the idea of a servant actually being the leader, contemplated on this idea for over eleven years and wrote in 1970 an essay, entitled, Essentials of Servant Leadership and introduced the term servant leadership. Further elaborating on his philosophy, Greenleaf wrote in his essay:

The servant-leader is servant first…Becoming a servant-leader begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from the one who is leader first…The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and the most difficult to administer, is this: Do those, who are served grow as persons? Do they, while being served grow as persons? Do they, while being served become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves become servants?

Larry Spears distills and explains clearly Greenleaf’s philosophy and instrumental means, which help in developing the ten characteristics of a servant leader: Listening, Empathy, Healing, Awareness, Persuasion, Conceptualization, Foresight, Stewardship, Commitment to the Growth of People, and Building a community. It is important to remember that these characteristics are not simply traits or skills possessed by the leader. They rather prove an ethical perspective that identifies key moral behaviors that leaders must continuously demonstrate to make progress and building successful winning teams and leaders for posterity.

Chanakya wrote in the 4th century BC, in his famous work Arthashastra: the kind (leader) shall consider as good, not what pleases himself but what pleases his subjects (followers). The Kind (leader) is a paid servant and enjoys the resources of the state together with the people.

When you think of it, is there any other way to lead and build successful and winning teams other than by serving them?

Greenleaf served as a consultant later to highly respected and successful institutions such as MIT, American Foundation for Management Research, and Lilly Endowment Inc. He continued writing focusing his ideas on several different areas of leadership such as: The Institution as Servant, The Leadership Crisis: A Message for College and University Faculty, and Teacher as Servant, etc.,

Greenleaf influenced a whole generation. In 1985, The Center for Applied Ethics was renamed the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. The Center continues to work, and you can access the posthumous essay collections at Greenleaf.org. What is more, today, there are scores of colleges and universities that include Servant Leadership in their teachings and hundreds of companies that embrace Greenleaf’s philosophy.

Larry Spears, CEO of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, describes servant-leadership as a way of being in relationship with others. Servant-leadership seeks to involve others in decision making, is strongly based in ethical and caring behavior, and enhances the personal growth of workers while improving the caring and quality of organizational life.

When you serve your team members and help them achieve their goals, realize their potential and grow, you are building a winning team that can take on any challenge. Preparing a personal developmental plan for each one of your team members based on a clear, objective SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis is a means to serve their interests, which inturn will help achieve the objectives of the individual team members as well as the total team.

Servant leadership, essentially, is a journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness.

Evolution or Devolution?

Tablet_disk

Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Indian government are aggressively promoting the use of generic drugs. Pharmabiz wrote in an article titled Medical Council of India asks doctors to prescribe drugs with generic names on May 10, 2013, that the MCI has issued circulars to the deans of all medical colleges, directors of Post Graduate Institutes and presidents of state medical councils to give wide publicity to ensure compliance by doctors to the clause 1.5 of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002.

Branded Generics to Generic-Generics?

One hears more often these days that going generics is the way to improve access to medicines. The recent wins of patent cases against a few of the anticancer drugs and an approval of a generic version of an MNC’s anti-diabetic drug have only furthered the case for generics. Is generic prescribing a better option? Which is the logical way or a path for a branded-generics pharmaceutical industry that is poised to evolve into a research-based drug industry in future? Become a generic-generics drug industry? Would that be an evolution or devolution?

Two Assumptions

The popular themes about promotion of generic prescribing is based mainly on two assumptions:

  1. It will reduce prices and improve access of medicines considerably
  2. It will significantly reduce the corrupt prescribing practices

Let us examine the first assumption that generics-prescribing leads to considerable reduction in drug prices. This is more relevant to the highly regulated first-world markets such as the US, Western Europe and Japan where research-based pharmaceutical industry rules the roost. In these patent-protected markets when the patents of drugs expire, a number of generics are introduced bringing down the prices considerably depending upon the generic penetration almost by eighty to ninety per cent of the innovator-drug prices within six months of genericization.

In branded-generic markets like India, where the prices are already at 20 to 30 per cent of the innovator-drug prices a significant price reduction is unlikely to almost ninety per cent of drugs as they are off-patents already. In case of new drugs the government can regulate the prices in a number of ways taking into account the socioeconomic conditions of the patient populations.

Can the generic-prescribing reduce the corrupt prescribing practices? Think for a moment what is the root cause of this problem. When you look at the hierarchy of pharmaceutical products, innovator or brand-name drugs are at the top with the maximum product differentiation, which enables them to command a price premium. Next in the pecking order are value-added generics such as drug delivery products of the same molecule with a perceptible and patentable degree of differentiation, which helps them get some price premium. Branded generics are next in the line with a lesser degree of differentiation in terms of quality perception, availability, customer service , etc. Generic-generics are at the bottom with a commodity status with virtually no differentiation. When there is no product differentiation, gratification rules the strategic roost. That explains but doesn’t justify the unabated corrupt practices by drug manufacturers in wooing the prescribers.

The prices of branded-generics and generic-generics do not vary significantly in branded generic markets such as India. The prices to retailers and hospitals may have hefty discounts, which are not passed on to patients entirely. Patients pay almost the same price while the channel members get increased margins.

Evolution or Devolution?

The modern pharmaceutical industry as we know it today has evolved over many years and contributed significantly in the discovery and development of drugs to cure many diseases that were thought untreatable. The same industry has to develop even the future cures. Therefore, it has to continuously evolve. The evolutionary path for a research-based pharmaceutical industry has been an arduous one. A firm would start off as an API manufacturer or a generic-generic manufacturer and move up the evolutionary road to become a branded-generic manufacturer to international generics manufacturer and further move up to a value-added generics to specialty Pharma and finally to a research-based pharmaceutical industry. The Pharma companies need to generate an investible surplus to move up at every stage. With each forward step during this evolutionary process, the company would be creating and increasing its ability to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack.

Going back to generic-generics is devolution or backward-evolution. De-evolution is the notion that a species can change into a more primitive form over time. In terms of modern biology, the term may be a misnomer for that concept as it presumes that there is a preferred hierarchy of structure and function, and that evolution must mean progress to more advanced organisms. However, in the context of modern pharmaceutical industry and the state and stage at which the Indian pharmaceutical industry is currently positioned going from branded generics to generic-generics instead of  moving towards a research-based pharmaceutical industry is clearly devolution. It is, if not going back to primitive stage it is likely to become primitive tomorrow by standing still at the present stage in its present state, while the rest of the pharmaceutical world is moving forward.

The Best of Political Advertising: Yes, We Can

Yes_We_Can

Yes. We. Can.

Three simple words. Three simple words can inspire a generation, unite a community, and change a nation. Three simple words can conjure up images of a multitude of movements. Three simple words can transcend cultural differences. These three simple words have provided inspiration for the United Farm Workers movement and helped elect the first African American President of the United States of America.

Yes, We Can! Three Powerful words that won the 2008 American Presidential Election. Here is the transcript of the promotional video. Study the inspiring copy and the imagery. The Yes, we can 2008 US presidential campaign is considered as one of the best political campaigns in modern political history. TheYes, We Can rhetoric was omnipresent during the campaign. The fully integrated multimedia campaign ensured that the Yes, We Can slogan was present in all facets of President Obama’s presidential campaign such as his stump speeches, viral online videos, in the campaign pamphlets, yard signs, posters and other promotional material.

Yes We Can Will.i.am and Jesse Dylan, 2008,

(Acoustic guitar)

Obama (speaking) and Will.I.Am (singing): It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes we can.

(Text: Yes We Can)

With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Common: It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists, as they blazed the trials towards freedom: Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

With John Legend (singing): It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

With Tatiana Ali and Kate Walsh: It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier…

With John Legend:…and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to Promised Land.

Obama: Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.

Aisha Tyler: Yes, we can.

Sam Page: Yes, we can.

Kate Walsh: Yes, we can.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Yes, we can.

Jonathan Schaech: Yes, we can.

Obama with Sam Page, Scarlett Johannsen, and John Legend: Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world.

Crowd: (cheering): Yes, we can

Group: Yes we can, ye,s we can…

Obama With Will.I.Am: We must remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

Group: Yes, we can, oh, yes, we can. I want change.

Obama (joined by members of Group, singing): We have ben told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come.

We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Aisha Tyler: I want change…

Crowd (cheering): We want change, we want change.

Obama with Will.I.Am: That the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of L A

With Common: We will remember that there is something happening in America

With members of Group (singing): That we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in America’s story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea – Yes. We. Can.

For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of people.

Can we learn a lesson or two from this highly successful campaign and apply them in designing winning campaigns for our products?

Image Source: Wikipedia

Transcript Source: Livingroomcandidate.org