DTC + Ortho = Coach K

Finally, I saw it. I had been calling it for a while and leave it to Depuy, a Johnson & Johnson company to be the first, at least from I have seen to go to television with their DTC efforts. I've talked about this quite a few times in the past and I've frankly been waiting to see who got there first. I am not surprised it is Depuy. Zimmer is still the leading pure-play, I would say that unless they get their marketing in order they are at a decided disadvantage in playing catch-up despite announcing last week that they are buying the spine division from Abbott. That seems like a short-term band-aid to goose the top line sales a bit and at around 100 million, it is a relative rounding error for Abbott. With that small of a revenue contribution, I would bet that the spine business coming from Abbott is a relative mess, but I digress.

Any J&J company is a formidable opponent as they are as much a consumer packaged good company as they are a health care organization and they have a modus operandi that I have seen across multiple business units (diabetes, in particular) that flat out works. See other commentary on Ortho DTC here, here, here, and finally here.

It is straight out of the J&J play book as they signed a recognizable person to launch their campaign. Coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) coming off Olympic Gold and Head Men's basketball coach at Duke University. A great coach, a recognizable face and he had a hip replacement a few years back. It's a brilliant play, so to speak and Depuy has the usual integration that you would expect to see. A dynamic web site to accompany the campaign, which you can check out here. If you Google Coach K you'll find a sponsored ad and they have the TV spot. Although I would have expected that they would proactively post it to YouTube, which I couldn't find.

Pretty impressive overall for Ortho and Med Device. The decision life cycle can be long in joint replacement I am sure they want to raise the awareness and begin to drive the conversation for people deciding on some joint replacement surgery. Despite the economy and the fact that spending is down, orthopedics is pretty insulated its a great move by Depuy to move in now. I'm sure Ortho docs aren't upset that they are potentially driving more people into their offices and coupled with the "consultant agreement" issues that Zimmer took the hammer on, I'm sure there is some secondary goodwill being earned by Depuy through this campaign. Not to mention that it gives their sales reps something to go in and talk about in sales calls. Win, Win, Win...

With the internal issues that Zimmer has had it will be interesting to see if they stay the course or if they will counter in some way. I just checked Zimmer's web site and it still has a way to go to become focused on the customer and to bring it current. I'd even say that with the commercial, Web site and activity that they might be a full 12 months or more behind if they want to remain at parity in their marketing efforts.
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