Aaron Siegel - Advanced Digital Video

Art 105 - San Jose State University - CADRE Laboratory for New Media

Monday, October 25, 2004

PhRMA Annual Report

I found this great annual report from Big PhRMA, that had these cool graphs in them showing industry spending:







It's apparent that the pharmacuetical industry wants to make it clear that they're spending more money on research and development than they are on direct-to-consumer advertising. These numbers are combined from the member corporations of PhRMA, so a closer look at each corporations spending on R&D in relation to advertising of solely their products, the ratio will be different.

I also found this other document produced by PhRMA that states that the FDA didn't issue a draft guidance for electronic or broadcast advertising of prescription medication until 1997, and wasn't finalized until 1999. Previous to this, most pharmacuetical advertising was restricted to magazines and newspapers.


On second thought...

I thought about the use of explicit footage of side effects in the commercials, but after a few days of consideration it seems a bit obvious and almost cliche to include the "reality" of something that's spun.

I'm still having trouble finding prescription medication commercials on TV. I've been watching TV while doing pretty much everything in hopes of seeing a commercial and recording it, and it's sort of distracting. Comedy central seems to have a fair amount of pharmacuetical commercials. I was checking network TV to see if there was a higher percentage of them, but I didn't seem to see as many.

I think what I'll do from now on is mute, or lower the volume on the TV until the commercials come on, then I can focus most of my attention on them for 5 minutes or whatever while doing my other work.

Actually, an idea just came to me. If I could use multiple windows of video to illustrate the increase in pharmacuetical industry spending on direct-to-consumer advertising. I start by using commercials of the drugs that were initially advertised (not the original commercials, since those would be incredibly difficult to get, but current ones), and gradually add more and more of the newer drugs to the picture frame. I'll have to think about it a bit more...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Change of Methodology?

I found this sweeet bill called the Direct to Consumer Prescription Drug Advertising Act of 2004 that has some great information.

(1) The pharmaceutical industry spent $2,700,000,000 on direct to consumer advertising in 2001, nearly a 60 percent increase since 1997.

(2) Direct to consumer prescription drug advertisements can significantly increase the number of sales. In 2000, almost $2,500,000,000 was spent on direct to consumer advertising to promote 50 different drugs. The following year, retail sales for these drugs skyrocketed by 21.4 percent.

I love to see the logarithmic increase in spending, and I'd actually love to see it in graphical comparison to consumer spending and industry spending on research and development. Unfortunately, this isn't 103, so I won't be doing anything like that (atleast not for a grade).

(b) CONTENTS- In addition to any other requirements, the regulations under subsection (a) shall require that--
(2) any advertisement present a fair balance, comparable in depth, between--
(B) aural and visual presentations relating to side effects and contraindications, except that nothing in this section shall require explicit images or sounds depicting side effects and contraindications;

I found this article of the bill to be quite industry, cause it simply states that drug companies must use audio and video to clearly inform viewers of side effects, but don't necessarily need to show representative visuals or audio of the side effects (ie: some guy on the toilet with diarhea, or some guy going into cardiac arrest). It makes me think of what I could do to incorporate really graphic portrayals of the side effects into the original commercials. I could do a whole series of commercials with modifications to make them more explicitly realistic.

I should have knocked on wood, cause Susan said she thought I wouldn't see many prescription medication commercials. Since that's all I've been looking for when I watch TV, it seems to me like I'm seeing a whole lot less of them. I should have many more commercials recorded by now so I can spend all of next week in the editing process.

By using this new methodology, I would edit commercials for prescription medication together to create a new, different medication that includes many side effects, all of which will be visualized and added to the commercial using found footage.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising

I found this great article by the Yale New Haven Health Network about the use of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. They have a ton of scientific references that show an exponential increase in spending on advertising by the pharmacuetical industry in the past decade.


According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs increased from $55 million in 1991 to $1.8 billion in 1999.

There's also a useful scientific study that was done by the FDA where they surveyed a broad group of people on their reactions to perscription medication advertising. It's long and has a ton of raw data, so it will take a while to review and process the essential data.

Meanwhile, I'm sick and need some saltines and chicken soup. I'm going out to get some.

Project 3 Methodology Outline (repost)

I will stick to a 1-2 minute video based solely on commercials for perscription medication.

I can use only 15 second maximum clip length at a time, and ideally I'd like to limit myself to only 15 seconds from each individual medication. This will lead me to use as many different medication commercials as possible to create a new medication.

I will use audio editing software to create a smoothly blended soundtrack based solely on the audio from the commercials. From this audio I will develop a narrative and can work with video afterwards.

I want to focus on either (a) the obscure, and sometimes gruesome, side effects that can come with medication, (b) the symptoms of illness which cause people to seek out perscription medications, or (c) the use of marketing to drive people, without relative reason or symptoms, to seek out perscription medication from their doctors.

The end result will be a video that fits the paradigm of extended length perscription medication commercials.

I've decided only to copy over this initial post for project 3 since I will end up posting large amounts of data soon enough anyway. If you want to read the blog posts before project 3, refer to my old busted blog at http://www.datadreamer.com/cgi-bin/bloggy.pl.

Monday, October 18, 2004

New Blog!

I've decided to create a new blog based on a professional script and template to make a more productive posting system without detracting my time and effort from other classwork to make it myself. I'll copy over the previous "good" posts from my original blog and continue to post here using stricter guidelines to do so.

I will begin researching the previous legality of perscription medication commercials on network television to see if there has been a relatively recent change in laws to allow such advertising.

I'm also going to have to spend a bit of time customizing my blogs design to fit my stylings ;).