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Pharma Giant Pfizer Uses AM/FM Radio To Elevate Campaign Reach.

The pharmaceutical category has emerged as an important one for radio, especially since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the top companies in the industry, Pfizer, utilizes network radio to advertise its drug brands to great success.

Vivvix/Kantar reports AM/FM radio represents the majority of media investments for Pfizer brands such as Comirnaty (the COVID vaccine) and Ibrance, a breast cancer medication. Pfizer invested $18.3 million or 82% of its marketing for the Comirnaty brand on AM/FM radio, compared to $4.1 million or just 18% on TV. When running ads for Ibrance, Pfizer placed 71% of its marketing budget on AM/FM radio, compared to 29% on TV.

The Vivvix/Kantar report reflects the period from Jan. 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.

Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer for Cumulus Media and Westwood One’s Audio Active Group also looked at incremental reach lift that radio generates for pharma TV campaigns using Neilsen Media Impact. Using Ibrance as an example Bouvard notes that AM/FM radio generates a 65% lift for the brand.

“The TV campaign was a little under $10 million among women 18-plus and generated a reach of 45%,” he explains in a video detailing the findings. “Then we overlay the network radio campaign,” which amounted to about $1.8 million in the same month. “And the monthly reach among women soars from 45% to 74%,” Bouvard continues. “That is a 65% increase, despite the fact that they were spending five times as much on TV as they were on radio.”

Bouvard says that the TV campaign for the brand generates significant reach for women over the age of 55. What he says is “radio’s superpower” is reaching the younger demo. “Radio comes to the rescue if you're looking for consumers under the age of 60,” he said.

The Ibrance December 2021 campaign on TV reached only 13.8% of Women 18-24, whereas the combined TV and AM/FM radio campaign reached 56.7% of the demo.

“The younger the demographic, the greater the reach lift. Ibrance’s network radio overlay generates a +123% increase in women 35-44 reach and a +221% lift in women 25-34 reach,” Bouvard explains in a blog post highlighting the Cumulus Media/Westwood One study.

In the blog post and video, Bouvard also details his findings on how radio helps increase reach among light TV viewers, how Pfizer’s radio campaign impacts brand equity vs. linear TV, and how the pharma giant’s COVID and Ibrance medications, which were heavily marketed on AM/FM radio, outperformed the general market in most brand equity measures.

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