Ad Stars: Cadient (Fluvirin)

Mar 01, 2008
By Pharmaceutical Executive

DIY FLU
agency: Cadient Group
brand: Fluvirin
client: Novartis
photo from left: Sally Reed, manager, project management • Geoff McCleary, senior marketing strategist • Marisa McGettigan, account manager • Erik Sonlin, associate creative director • On Laptop: David Miller, digital media producer

Many pharmaceutical companies are terrified of dipping even a toe into the swirling pool of viewer-generated content because regulatory issues make a truly unfiltered dialogue impossible. However, Cadient made pharma history with its groundbreaking YouTube Fluflix contest for Novartis's influenza vaccine Fluvirin and the firm's informational Web site FluSource.com.

Cadient presented the YouTube concept, and Novartis got on board, offering $500 to anyone who could create a compelling video flu story in one of the following categories: Kids and the Flu, Sports and the Flu, and Workplace and the Flu. The result? At press time, approximately 800,000 people had viewed the sample videos produced by Novartis and Cadient, and approximately 12,000 people had viewed the FluFlix channel on YouTube. The contest—which was unbranded—also drummed up impressive hits for Novartis's FluSource.com. The winning videos included a retro black-and-white entry, a cartoon entry, and a video featuring the filmmaker's own children.

"We met the challenges of the client, and we think we were able to provide the users with a forum to exercise some creativity," says Geoff McCleary of Cadient. "I think the prevailing thought in the pharma industry is that it's a great thing to try social media, we just wish we knew how to do it. This proves that there are ways."

With pharma scaling back, where will this lead? Last time we checked, YouTube videos were cheaper than flashy commercials. And Cadient's Sally Reed was "astounded" by the quality. "The three winners were exceptional, but the overall talent that's out there and the quality of the product we received on YouTube was amazing."

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