You’ve heard of Alli, right? It’s the new over-the-counter weight loss drug that offers “intestinal leakage” if you continue eating a high-fat diet while taking the drug.
I happened to visit a local mall this weekend and was astonished and fascinated to see Alli being marketed with the fanfare normally reserved for movies. It’s all part of the “Alli Tour” (yes, that’s what they’re calling it) – coming soon to a shopping mall near you.
Huge banners hung all over the mall, as you’ll see below (these images are cropped a bit to fit – just click them to see the full image):
Here’s the first enormous banner:
And I’ve circled four more in red – there were actually a total of seven more banners hung from the rafters:
And then….there was the blindingly white booth. Picture a standalone booth – I figure around 20′ x 20′, give or take:
And a couple of shots of the inside:
Although you can’t see it in either of these pictures, the signage at the main entrance emphasizes Alli’s approval by the FDA. It’s staffed by folks who hand out materials and chat with visitors – not sure what their training is. The overall effect is quasi-clinical.
They also gave me a very nicely (and expensively) packaged packet of information that contained a recipe card, a 140+-page guide to losing weight through lifestyle change, a sheet of refrigerator magnets (sample: “If you don’t buy it, you can’t fry it”), a two-week meal plan, a data sheet on orlistat (Alli’s active ingredient), a shopping list pad, and a few other goodies.
The materials talk about healthy eating and exercise plus the usual lifestyle hints – but this kind of marketing budget tells the tale. While you have to look long and hard to find GlaxoKlineSmith’s name anywhere on the materials, make no mistake: this is another massive product launch brought you by Big Pharma. And despite the cynical emphasis on the “most important ingredient in successful weight loss: you”, it’s clear that GSK is marketing this to folks looking for a silver bullet. After all, if diet and exercise had worked, they wouldn’t be interested in Alli, right?
What are you hearing from your clients and customers? Are people trying this? Are they cynical or optimistic about it?
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