A Captive Audience

photo by Heidi Splete

photo by Heidi Splete

From Digestive Disease Week, Chicago, Il.

What would it be like to be a fly on the wall at the brainstorming session at the ad agencies who work for drug companies?

Probably something like this:

“There’s a big meeting coming up. Lots of doctors.”

“Docs are busy, they are distracted, they are tired and strung out on caffeine. Where can we catch them that they have no choice but to see us?”

“How about the shuttle bus to the meeting? Let’s put our ad on a headrest cover that goes over each seat on the bus.”

“Brilliant! We’ll have them for a solid 10 minutes, maybe more if we can arrange for slow traffic.”

“I’ll see what I can do. I know people.”

OK, the dialog is a “reimagining,” but the seat covers on the shuttle bus were real. And the ad was on the front and back of the cover, so you were smacked in the face with rows of ads as you boarded the bus, and then there it was, 10 inches from your nose, on the ride to McCormick Center. I have never seen this before at a meeting, and I have to give the ad people credit for thinking about where they would have a truly captive audience.

But the strategy isn’t flawless. When I hit the exhibit hall around noon, after a morning of listening to presentations about ulcerative colitis and other fun topics, I challenged myself to remember the booth number of the shuttle bus advertiser. I only got 3 of the 4 numbers right, so I didn’t get there today.  But if the same ad is there for the next 2 days, they might get me to stop by the booth, just out of curiosity. And I guess that’s their goal.

–Heidi Splete (on twitter @hsplete)

1 Comment

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One response to “A Captive Audience

  1. interesting material, where such topics do you find? I will often go

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