Pharmaceutical Runs DRTV Campaign to Boost Products

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Shaman Pharmaceuticals, a marketer of dietary supplements, this week finished a direct response television campaign using a no-risk trial offer to promote its anti-diarrhea treatment and build a base of repeat customers.

The campaign launched Sept. 20 and concluded Oct. 1. Infomercials ran on WJAL in Chambersburg, PA; WGTW, WTVE and WPHL in Philadelphia; and local cable stations in Santa Barbara, CA. The ads also ran on cable outlets such as The Travel Channel and Game Show Network, among others.

In the DRTV ad, Shaman, South San Francisco, CA, offered viewers a 30-day trial of its NSF-IB tablets, a natural supplement for the relief of abdominal discomfort and diarrhea, along with a Syn X nutritional bar and its Healthy Living Guide. Consumers paid $29.95 per order and $5.95 for shipping.

Consumers could choose to receive a 48-tablet bottle of NSF-IB each month for $24.95. Lisa Conte, president of Shaman, last week said about 40 percent of customers who took advantage of the trial offer decided to enroll in the plan. She would not reveal the number of orders received.

The ad featured testimonials from NSF-IB users and several physicians who explained how the product works.

Original tests of the 30-minute infomercial ran during late-night hours in August in San Francisco. Shaman ran newspaper ads offering free samples of the product in New York, San Francisco and Miami to attract testimonials. Following the tests, Shaman decided to use a greater number of testimonials in the DRTV ads that ran in Philadelphia. Conte said DRTV historically has been successful in the Philadelphia market.

"You get a larger cross-section of experience from users of the product that you offer," he said. "We wanted to make sure we represented a broad section of customers who have benefited from the product."

Most of the ads ran during the recently concluded 12-day period between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. with a few running during the late-evening and early-morning hours, said Steven King, Shaman's chief operating officer and co-developer of NSF-IB.

Conte said the ads were aimed at women between the ages of 30 and 65. Individuals dealing with the side effects of treatments such as chemotherapy are among the product's primary users.

Women make up about 75 percent of those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, said Conte, who also mentioned that women were most often responsible for purchasing medical products for families.

The DRTV ad represented the first time Shaman used direct marketing to sell its products. The company will likely try a DRTV campaign again in the future when it releases new products currently in development, King said.

"We didn't fully appreciate the power of this approach, particularly with products with efficacy and a good story," King said. "It's a good method to say what [the product] is and how it works."

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