Why Do Cheesy Drug Commercials Work?

This is a written Transcription for the Midwest Mindset episode: Why Do Cheesy Drug Commercials Work?

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Full Written Transcript of The Episode

Matt: Have you ever watched those drug commercials? That make no sense. It’s just people happy frolicking through fields. But yet it works. And we’re going to talk about why it works in today’s episode.

Matt: Of Midwest Mindset.

Matt: Hello and welcome back to Midwest Mindset, the podcast that makes marketing easy and simple to do for any business. I’m Matt Tompkins of Two Brothers Creative, where we believe every business deserves affordable and effective marketing. Uh, let’s intro everybody on the show.

All right. Big round of applause for this. We’re going to lead into it with some positivity. Okay. Uh, first up, we have a man who he is recovering from Covid. Mhm. Uh, he did not take him out.

Next to him. Austin. Yeah. Well, we’re in the clear at least I hope. Right. You’re negative. Right. You’re good. Yep. Okay. Thank thank you. All right. Sweet. Um, I.

Austin: Would feel terrible. I don’t wish that on anyone. It is the worst.

Matt: Here’s my question. With Covid, like, okay, people when they get Covid. All right, I gotta stay home. I don’t want to get anybody else sick.

But then any other illness we get, like, you get strep throat or the flu or, you know, cold. It’s contagious as well. You just go to work. Like, why don’t why aren’t we applying that mindset to all the illnesses? I think you’re supposed to.

Ben: Stay home for those two. But I agree with you.

Austin: No one does. No one.

Matt: Does. No one does. If you get a really bad cold, people still come to work. Yeah. And they spread it.

Ben: It’s because you don’t have the test with Covid. You have the drama of you have this test and this big thing.

Matt: I mean, you test for the cold. Well, you can.

Austin: Test for strep throat.

Matt: So congratulations on congratulations on surviving and still being alive. Uh, Austin, uh, he looks like the kind of guy who always puts it in the wrong hole.

Ben: Oh, yeah. Yeah, that is you.

Austin: Gets me in a lot of trouble.

Matt: Trust me. I know we’re.

Ben: Talking about golf, right?

Matt: Uh oh, yeah. Probably golf too. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was talking about. I was thinking about pool.

Ben: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you gotta call.

Austin: That’s what I was thinking about.

Matt: Yeah. And if you’re thinking about something else that’s on you, you pervert. Uh, next up, we have Myron. Uh, Myron McHugh. He is the producer extraordinaire. He’s in the control booth right now.

We still don’t allow him to have a microphone. Uh, for reasons, uh, maybe someday. But, Myron, you know, he, uh, he looks like the kind of guy who makes his own slippers. That’s Myron.

Ben: Oh, that is him.

Matt: Yeah, he probably hand knits them. Maybe some crochets.

Austin: Involved with human hair.

Matt: With human hair.

Ben: That’s why he’s grown a beard.

Matt: It’s all wool woven together.

Ben: Oh, God.

Matt: And you don’t want to know where he gets the human hair from. That’s the weird. That’s where it gets weird. We don’t know. That’s where it gets weird.

Austin: Toilet seats.

Matt: And last but least, uh, of course, the other brother from the same mother, Ben Tompkins, who, uh, he looks like the kind of guy who is always near jello.

Ben: Uh, yeah. You know, it’s a quick and easy meal. Yeah, it’s very practical. So I always. I know where all the jello spots are in town.

Matt: Uh, so growing up together, since we’re brothers, you know, that’s how it works. Um, Ben would sit and eat a whole tub of frosting. He would get cake frosting and just devour it. I mean, it was like it.

Ben: Was real jam. It started with Dunkaroos. Dunkaroos? You could buy the little graham crackers or the kangaroos.

Austin: I remember those.

Ben: Dunk them into frosting. And then I started to think, well, I just like the frosting. So I would just eat the frosting. And then I started to think, let’s just take out the middleman and buy the frosting.

So I just go buy frosting and eat it. But I’d have to hide the frosting, because if my parents or anybody found me, they would take it or they would judge me. Yeah, that’s the perfect.

Austin: Metaphor to for drugs. Like, you start small and then you move up. You’re like.

Ben: My drug.

Austin: Container. My name.

Matt: Is Matt, and I’m addicted to.

Ben: Frosting. My drug is just cake. Frosting.

Austin: Yeah.

Matt: It was it was bad. Like, it was. It was crazy. Like, I mean, I’m.

Austin: How old was he?

Matt: Oh, he’s like, you know, I don’t know. I still do it. Yeah. He still does it. Yeah. So his entire life I think it started out young. He was like probably six, five years old, six years old. And he would just devour it. And he loved it. He was so happy. I didn’t want to stop him. You know?

Austin: God, it is a it’s a miracle that you’re a skinny guy.

Matt: Ben. Is that how.

Austin: You felt when I see if I eat tubs of frosting? My metabolism was so terrible, I would have been even a fatter kid.

Matt: Yeah. Uh, I mean, is that how you felt, Ben, when I went through my addiction, when I was just taking all kinds of drugs? You’re just like. Yeah, but Matt looks so happy. Uh, you know, I don’t know.

Ben: I got it. I was like, no, I get what he’s going through. You try to.

Austin: Give.

Matt: I had the same issue.

Ben: I know it just got to let it play. Yeah.

Austin: You try to get on Matt about it, and then he freaks out about your frosting, right? Yeah. Ben, you the.

Matt: Frosting, man. Leave me alone with my my OxyContin.

Austin: Take the log out of your own eye.

Matt: Uh, okay. So today we’re talking about focusing on the end result. Okay. And this is key to your marketing for any business. So if you guys seen the drug commercials, right. Yeah.

The ones I’m talking about. So these are the drug commercials or the there’s all this, like, video footage of people, like, frolicking through a field or they’re they’re just going to the market and it’s like all this weird shit and you’re like, what does this have to do with anything?

What is your take? What is your take on those commercials?

Like, why do you think they’re effective or not effective?

Ben: Um, I think they come from a time when they’re an older form of advertising. So they’re they’re probably still effective. They’re not as effective, I don’t think, as they once were, because I see them and I think these are the same cheesy commercials that I saw when I was a kid.

Austin: Yeah. Every time I see one, I wonder the same thing. Why do they still make them like this and who can’t see it? Um, you know, like who? Who is this fooling?

Matt: So the answer is they work. That’s why they still do it. Why do they work? That’s the other question, right?

Austin: I’m excited for the answer.

Matt: They. Work, because what they’re doing in this commercial is they’re showing you they’re in a visual format. The end result. This is what your life will look like after consuming our product, in this case, our drug. Right. So if you take this, they’re going to have paint the picture of the end result.

So that’s why it’s all this happy footage that makes doesn’t seem to make any sense. It’s not really connected to anything they’re showing you.

Here’s how good your life can be. You know. And with businesses in their marketing, a big mistake it’s easy to make is to just talk about the product. And we’re going to say this is the best product. It’s the best. It’s here’s the specs, here’s the facts. And you are. When you do that, you are targeting the thinking brain for your customer.

And nobody makes decisions based on their thinking brain. Nobody makes any decisions based on the facts or the specs. And we like to say that we do, but nobody does. That’s just a hard fact.

That’s a reality. Reality check. We make decisions based on our feeling brain. Right. So the end result is targeting your feeling brain. It’s saying this is how it’s going to look.

This is how your life is going to feel after you buy our product. Right. Um, focusing on the specs just does not work. It just doesn’t work. It’s not going to attract anybody. So what do you think of the drug commercials now that you know that?

Austin: That makes me think about the difference between features and benefits. Like they’re showing they’re showing the benefit because no one really wants to hear about the features they want. They want the benefits.

Ben: It makes me think there are a bunch of liars.

Matt: What?

Ben: Yeah, because they’re gonna sell this prescription and they, number one don’t know. They don’t care about the other consequences of the prescription. And some medication does terrible things to people. Some people abuse medication. Some people have a horrible past with medication. They don’t care if you actually feel that way. They’re just trying to manipulate you and trick you into thinking that so that you buy their product.

Matt: Well, in the case of drug companies, probably you’re probably right. But like, let’s just say overall painting the picture of the end result.

Austin: Like like Diet Coke. Yeah. And when I first, when I was younger and I was, uh. About five years into standup, I wrote this whole thing about Diet Coke and how it’s, uh, brings the party alive and all that, because just those commercials growing up, it’s like, you crack open this.

Ben: If I.

Austin: This time of your life.

Ben: If I saw a drug commercial that said, hey, we have this drug. But first, have you tried changing your diet? Have you tried increasing your. Yeah.

Austin: They would go out of business, tried all.

Ben: At least if you did. And it still doesn’t work. I would buy that drug even if I didn’t need it, just because I would respect that company. I used to.

Matt: Think that way too. I used to think, man, if somebody did a commercial that just came on and they said, hey, listen, I get it. Commercials suck. Here’s my product. Here’s why it’s good. I always thought that would work, right? Nope. Why doesn’t anybody do that? Well, there’s a reason. Like, you know, it doesn’t work.

Ben: I mean, you’re not going.

Matt: To sell, you know, and like. But what you’re saying, I’m not discounting that. That’s probably true in a lot of cases. And that’s unfortunate. Manipulating people, especially when you’re targeting their feeling brain sometimes it’s very easy to do.

And so a lot of companies will do that, especially drug companies. Um, it’s the drug commercials are hilarious, though, with the disclaimers at the end.

That’s what gets cracks me up like, you know, side effects may include, you know, explosive diarrhea. Because what.

Austin: Your dick flying off. Yeah.

Matt: You’re going to lose.

Ben: Coming back to you like a boomerang. Yeah.

Matt: If, uh, your dick will turn into a boomerang if you take this drug, I actually would take that drug. That would be fun.

Austin: About the party dudes outside shooting their dicks in the air, talking about.

Ben: The party coming to life.

Matt: This is the best drug ever. Not only does it prevent scabies, but it also is a boomerang.

Austin: Dick, an epidemic has swept the nation. Yeah.

Matt: Boomerang. Dick. Speaking of drug commercials, this is a total side. Side note here, a side tangent, but like, um, shingles. What’s going on with shingles?

Ben: 1 in 3 people will have shingles. And that means somebody in this one of us will have shingles.

Matt: One of us has shingles.

Ben: It’s already inside of us. Yeah. The virus.

Austin: Yep. That’s what’s wild. Yeah. Because it’s part of the chickenpox.

Ben: Just needs to be activated.

Matt: Yeah. It’s like chicken. If you’ve had chicken pox, then you can get. Yeah shingles or it’s not scabies but.

Austin: Shingles and apparently stress.

Matt: Scabies is something totally different. And I don’t want to talk about that. No. Okay. Listen, I got scabies once. I went to summertime, we went to the I was like 21, maybe went to the club. There’s some club in Omaha Cadillac. It was guitars and Cadillacs.

Ben: It was this. Yeah.

Matt: Scabies guitars and Cadillac Cadillacs. I go out on the dance floor. There’s a pretty girl wants to dance. So we’re dancing. We’re kind of grinding, right? Well, I’m wearing shorts. She’s wearing a skirt.

Ben: Shorts to a club.

Austin: It was guitars and Cadillac.

Matt: Guitars, a Cadillac. What are you.

Austin: Don’t judge. Yeah. He was. You can’t wear shorts out.

Ben: No, you can’t wear cowboy boots.

Austin: Okay, well.

Matt: You know, I was 21, I was little, I went out with shorts. So anyhow, we’re dancing. So, like my inner thigh.

Austin: I’m on your side.

Matt: My inner thigh. It was rubbing up against her inner thigh. And then over the next couple days, my thigh just turned. It looked like, uh, it looked like like not chicken pox, but worse, like just red bumps everywhere.

And then it started spreading. And pretty soon I’m like, I’ve got scabies. I didn’t know what it was, but it was all over me. Went to the doctor like, hey, you got scabies. Here, take this medication, clear it right up.

And it did. But I’m like, you know, that lady should have told me. She should have gave me a disclaimer herself. Listen, I wanted to dance with you. Want to bump and grind? But just so you know, the.

Austin: Music was too loud.

Ben: She needs to go to see one of those, uh, frolicking. Dancing?

Austin: You thought she was singing along to the song, but she was screaming. I have scabies.

Matt: By the way. I have scabies, like, uh. So anyhow. Okay, side tangent over. Um, but the shingles is interesting because, like, I don’t remember ten, 20 years ago, I didn’t even know nobody knew what shingles was.

And now it seems like these commercials make it. They are terrifying too. But that’s really are grinding. Like, did you know you could have shingles right now? But that’s the.

Ben: Other thing with this. I mean, I know this focus of this isn’t just pharmaceuticals and drugs. I know you’re I would imagine you’re applying this approach to all advertising, but with pharmaceutical companies it’s a business. So there who knows? I mean, you can find out, I’m sure, by doing research on how prevalent shingles really is and how dangerous and painful. But it’s a business.

They want you to buy their product, so they’re going to promote it. It’s not a health thing. That’s the other thing when it comes to drugs, is that you’re not treating it as if this is a community service.

They’re treating it like it’s a business, which is probably the biggest problem with with this whole thing is that they put their money first. They don’t put the customers interest first.

Matt: So I’ve been here, Ben, is our ethical morality check.

Austin: Yeah. And well, now I’m thinking like, okay. Yeah, I always feel like they’re manipulative, the commercials. But if human beings, if it’s a scientifically proven fact that we think with or, you know, we make decisions based on our feelings and we don’t think about it, don’t they don’t really have a choice.

Ben: Right? I would argue that that because.

Austin: Like, if we’re if we’re programmed to, to make decisions that way, they have.

Ben: To I would argue that that’s the way of thinking of your emotional brain is making most of your decisions, and facts aren’t playing as big of a role as maybe we would like, is true for a majority of people, but it doesn’t have to be true in all decisions, and it doesn’t have to be true for that majority. I think that’s where education, where not leaning into like, well, this is just the way it is. We can’t change it. I think you can change a lot.

Of how we learn and receive information and process information. Back when we only had three news channels and newspapers getting our news, I know there’s still a lot of manipulation and propaganda out there, but the misinformation wasn’t as prevalent as it is today because,

I mean, today we’ve just accepted this idea of we’re going to believe what my brain tells me to believe. We’re not going to trust a process of elimination or research or peer review. We’re not going to trust that that’s credible sources.

Austin: That’s yeah, that makes me, me and Matt are going to stand up on his desk and say, captain, oh, my captain. Yeah. After that. Wow. What movie was that pulling a reference there.

Matt: Robin was in that. Yeah, it was a book book club.

Austin: Yeah. It was a.

Ben: Teacher who.

Austin: Inspired everyone.

Ben: Dead poets.

Matt: Dead Poets Society. Yeah. That was that was a reference pulled out of the back of the box there. Um, so the end result. Let’s let me give you an example of an inn where a commercial gets it wrong. Okay.

And they focus too much on what you’re talking about. We’re talking about like negative that that’s called the stakes. You’re highlighting the stakes, right. So any commercial, anything, you know, you follow this story, you know, so you have a hero who’s the customer and the hero has a problem. And then the hero meets a guide.

The guide is the business. The business is there to give them a plan and say, hey, one, two, three. You do this, you buy a product, you do this and it’s going to work. And then they call them to action. And the last two things are highlighting the stakes, which is like, here’s what happens if you don’t buy our product, and then painting a picture of the end result. If you do so, a commercial that gets this wrong or a type of commercial is the commercial is about the the dogs and the animals, um, like the ASPCA, whatever the name of it is. And they load this commercial 60 minutes or 60s or even two minutes, right? With just horribly sad images. The whole thing is just it’s terrifyingly depressing. Yeah. Every time that commercial comes on, I have to change the channel. Now. They should highlight the stakes.

Austin: It’s interesting. So do I they.

Matt: They highlight the stakes through the entire thing. The reason that they it would perform much better for them if they had a little bit of stakes and then show the end result. So hey, here’s what’s going on right now. If you donate your money, call to action. Here’s the stakes. Sad puppy, abandoned, starving. And then here’s what happens when you donate. End result. So that’s an example a.

Austin: Dog running into a loving family.

Matt: Yes, sprinting along but big in that park.

Austin: From full House.

Ben: That. But those commercials. I think one reason why they might be effective or they might continue to do them, is that they stick in your brain as there is no result that those, those dogs and those animals that are in the commercial are forever in those cages.

Austin: So are they are they are they marketing with trauma?

Ben: Yeah, absolutely. If you see a dog run into a happy family in your brain, you’re thinking, oh, the dog saved. I don’t need to worry about it. But you’re always, you know, you.

Matt: Highlight both you.

Ben: Always you.

Matt: Show, show the dog get trapped and you say, here’s what happens when you donate your money and you show the end result, but you do both.

Ben: When you come to like, you’re saying that.

Austin: People are so stupid, they’ll think the dog is saved and they won’t give money.

Ben: They won’t feel as guilty when they see the dog.

Matt: But here’s the thing I so I donate to causes a lot of local, uh, like animal nonprofits and stuff here, here in the Omaha area. I haven’t donated anything. I’ve not felt motivated to donate to those commercials just because I’m the same way. I’m, you know, and it’s like, it’s not that I’m not a giving person. It’s just. And I love animals, but they just got it wrong. Like, now, listen, I don’t say they got it wrong. Their commercials likely work to a degree. What I’m saying is they’re going to work a lot better if they just put a little bit, a little bit of the end result in there.

Ben: Now, I agree that I wish again, I think there’s manipulation. I mean, that’s all it’s all types of marketing is propaganda in some ways, or capitalizing on your guilt or your fear or whatever.

Um, but with that, if you see and you know that these animals are safe, I’m sure once you donate, that’s when you see this result. You get just inundated with with things that are showing happy animals and all this stuff, and you start feeling like, yep, I’m doing it. So I’m going to keep donating.

Matt: So let’s, let’s do this little exercise here to wrap up this episode for any business who’s going through this? Let’s pick a random business like, I don’t know, a company that does kitchen countertops. Right? So now it’s easy on your website and your content on social media with all your marketing, um, to say this countertop is made of, you know, blah, blah, blah, you know, stone that’s imported from Egypt and it’s, you know, ground down by using the teeth of former deceased, uh, uh, American soldiers. I don’t know, but it’s like this. It’s this high end enlist. It’s easy to list off the specs.

You’re not going to win anybody what we’re talking about here today. So how would you take that?

A countertop company and paint the end result. So the end result would be the experience that your family is going to have in this beautiful kitchen. So something like, you know, come home to a loving family. You’re talking about the experience with this countertop. And that’s the feeling brain, not the countertop itself.

That’s how you sell kitchen countertops. Free tip for any kitchen countertop company. But that’s the end of the.

Austin: Perfect.

Ben: Good way to wrap.

Matt: It up. Uh, cool. For for Austin, Ben and Martin, I am Matt Tompkins. And thank you so much for joining us on this episode of Midwest Mindset. We have free resources for you to help you grow your business. Right now they’re free. That means they don’t cost any money. They’re you know.

Ben: You just have to. Yeah, you just have to be my Facebook friend.

Matt: All you have to do is become Ben’s Facebook friend and then click the button in the show notes. You can download our resources there. We have them for you every week and you can find out more at our website. The content box.com toodaloo.