SOURCE: Publishing Group of America

October 26, 2009 13:55 ET

Publisher Raises Bar on Drug Ad Accountability

Alliance With Healthcare Analytics Leader SDI Will Show How Advertising in Publishing Group of America Newspaper-Distributed Magazines Increases Brand Sales, Product Trial and Patient Compliance; Fast-Growing Media Company Takes Lead in Applying State-of-the-Art Metrics to Pharmaceutical Advertising

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 26, 2009) - Starting in November, pharmaceutical advertisers in the newspaper-distributed magazines (American Profile, Relish, Spry) published by Publishing Group of America (www.pubgroup.com) will be able to track precisely how their investment is affecting brand trial, product sales and prescription compliance. Thanks to a partnership with SDI (www.sdihealth.com) -- which provides the healthcare industry's most comprehensive de-identified, patient-level data -- all pharmaceutical advertising in PGA titles will be measured on all three levels monthly at no charge to the advertiser. The move creates a new standard in the business at a time when marketers need proof to sustain budgets, by providing a service that companies cannot match on their own.

Advertisers can target and track audience impact more precisely than ever before, based on profiles of 34 million PGA readers' diagnoses, brand usage and compliance. They can screen the magazines' audiences dynamically for prescription usage, brand purchasing, length of therapy and compliance by market, age and gender; and determine the magazines' actual value in strategic situations. They can target markets where category sales outpace brand purchases among readers, where category sales overall lag national averages, and where patient compliance lags brand averages. In each case, they will be able to adjust messaging on a multi-market basis and track ad results.

"We're answering two of the most challenging questions for pharmaceutical brands: How do I reach the right patients, and how can I use my advertising budget most effectively?" said Carol Campbell Boggs, SVP/Chief Revenue Officer at PGA. "We're providing the proof of performance that marketers need to sustain, and effectively expand, their ad budgets."

With an audience that dwarfs those of health and fitness and women's service publications, PGA's award-winning magazines have emerged as an important channel for pharmaceutical advertisers. The growing list of blue-chip drug advertisers in PGA magazines includes Abbott Labs, AstraZeneca, Bristol Meyers Squib, Combe, Eli Lilly, Glaxo Smith Kline, Merck & Co., Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Novartis, Sanofi Aventis, Schering Plough and Wyeth.

"PGA is built to deliver this level of accountability," said Boggs. "Unlike conventional magazines, we don't own subscriber files that would have to be de-personalized to work with SDI -- so privacy is assured by our structure. What's more, our distribution model creates organic test beds around the country. We're dominant in our markets and absent in others, so marketers can test readily, whereas other magazines of similar scale have some readers in virtually every market. And we own the largest health magazine in the country, so we can evaluate how editorial makes an impact."

Companies cannot do this on their own because doctors, hospitals and other healthcare organizations would not turn patient data over to an advertiser. SDI tracks more than 85 million de-identified patients via records from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies submitted on a daily basis. The 50 largest healthcare marketers use SDI monthly reports to set strategy and track business growth by category, demography and geography.

About Publishing Group of America

Franklin, TN-based Publishing Group of America publishes American Profile, Relish and Spry magazines. American Profile debuted in April 2000 as the second largest publishing launch in U.S. history; it is distributed through more than 1,400 newspapers with a combined circulation of 10 million. Relish debuted in February 2006 as the largest advertising-supported food magazine, with a circulation of 6.8 million via newspapers, and has grown to 15 million effective January 2008. Spry launched in September 2008 with a circulation of 9 million. The company publishes a series of cookbooks ("Hometown Recipes") and custom publications, and operates Hometown Content, a syndicated news service for print and web, and Hometown Promotions, an integrated marketing service.

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