Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
13 July 2017
Boston Scientific TV spot doesn’t create preference
There are few, if any, companies that brand products and companies in the medical device category more than Stealing Share. We’ve worked with Medtronic, St. Jude Medical, Integra LifeSciences and many others. But not Boston Scientific.
If we had, we would say the idea behind advertising on commercial TV airwaves is terrific. But the execution lacks any kind of strategy.
The Boston Scientific ad for its Watchman implant can be viewed here. And it’s the first foray for a medical device company in television advertising. Boston airs the spot in four test markets (Tampa, Detroit, San Diego and Phoenix), teaching the value of an implantable device to correct irregular heartbeats.
“All the spot does is grow the category. That doesn’t just help Boston Scientific. That also helps Medtronic and St. Jude Medical (now Abbott) and others.”
And that’s the problem. The spot simply touts the benefits of having an implant rather than undergoing constant drug therapy. (Which is a dubious claim all together, but that’s for another day.) It does nothing to create preference for the Boston Scientific or Watchman brand.
Traditionally, medical companies, especially pharmaceuticals, advertise to spur consumer pull through. The goal? That you, as the patient, will ask your doctor for X drug.
Boston Scientific takes a hesitant first step
Medical devices lag far behind in this arena. There are reasons for this. For one, medical devices and the implanting of them are expensive for hospitals. Meaning hospital administrators choose. Medical professionals such as cardiologists and electro physiologists may also have preferences. Patients rarely do.
But why wouldn’t they? Patients are becoming much more educated on procedures, drugs and all other aspects of health care. Thanks to the internet.
Cardiologists and EPs say patients just take their advice, and that’s true. (That’s why medical professionals remain the primary target audience.) But that’s because no one has given them a choice.
The whole reason for the Boston Scientific spot is to educate. Educate on the benefits of the category. A women rushes her father to the hospital where a doctor tells them about a different way to treat atrial fibrillation. All the spot does is grow the category. That doesn’t just help Boston Scientific. That also helps Medtronic and St. Jude Medical (now Abbott) and others.
Maybe you can call this the first step for medical devices. But it’s so much smarter to create preference for Boston Scientific. Right now, its brand says, “Advancing science for life.” Which is all about Boston Scientific. Nothing about the customer, whether it’s the doc or the patient. That creates no preference.
One small step for medical devices, I guess. But not a giant leap for Boston Scientific.
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