Psychedelics Companies Face Off Against Big Pharma’s $6.8B Annual Ad Spend
With the psychedelics industry in a nascent stage, it’s easy for companies to overlook the importance of marketing—especially drug development companies without therapeutic products available to consumers. But according to Social Club TV CEO Joshua Otten, that is an incomplete perspective on things. With insufficient public awareness of the benefits of psychedelic product/services, and steep competition with bloated Big Pharma advertising budgets, building brand recognition is of the utmost importance.
Judging strictly by the numbers, the psychedelics industry faces stacked odds in its quest of getting the word out. According to Kantar measured media, Big Pharma advertising spending surpassed $6.58 billion in 2020. That was actually slight above the 2019 total of $6.56 billion, despite the 13% slide for U.S. advertising spend across all consumer verticals. TV advertising remained the cornerstone of ad spending with $4.6 billion—or about 75%—of aggregate ad spend in 2020.
To put this in context, the total market capitalization (undiluted) of the psychedelic industry’s two largest companies is around $2.6 billion. Big Pharma’s TV advertising spend alone tops the market cap of the industry’s eight largest companies, with room to spare.
Furthermore, the psychedelics industry has infinitely more regulatory hurdles (Schedule I) and product/service stigma to cut through, given that for decades consumers have been taught that psychedelic substances are “bad”. The U.S. government’s War on Drugs was more than just eradicating cannabis fields in Mexico.
As a leading content producer in the west coast cannabis industry, Joshua Otten knows how critical structured advertising is to branding success. Especially in relation to Big Pharma, where psychedelic products and services will ultimately end up in competition.
Pharmaceutical industries learned early on that they are creating products that have outcomes for patients. And the best way to do that is, you have to educate their patients, or their prospective patients, on what these products are before they go to the doctor. If you’re expecting someone to go to the doctor, tell them they have all of these problems and the doctor to say ‘Well then, you need to get this product,’ regardless of whatever your relationship is with that medical facility or the doctor—you’re not going to grow very quickly.
In other words, Big Pharma are experts on how to get in front of patients and educating them about services so that they are pre-programmed to accept Big Pharma’s therapeutic options once the diagnosis is made. And have we mentioned that pharmaceutical companies spend $6.58 billion per year to codify their message?
Fortunately, a receding legacy media footprint is giving companies with smaller marketing budgets a chance to succeed.
Click on the embedded link for more of our newest interview with Social Club TV CEO Joshua Otten, in his own words.