The campaign's positive focus on maintaining good health, versus simply avoiding disease, makes it effective. Convincing patients—women
or men—to start or adhere to preventive pharmaceuticals is challenging. But behavioral psychologists believe that a "gain"
message of staying healthier, like the AstraZeneca message, has a better chance of succeeding.
Invitation to Share
Merck has extended an invitation for women to share information about HPV (human papilloma virus) and to help other women
prevent cervical cancer. In its television ad campaign for the generic HPV cervical-cancer vaccine Gardsil, "Tell Someone,"
women, many with their arms around their daughters, express their surprise at discovering the viral link of HPV to cervical
cancer. In the ad, women encourage other women to tell someone they love about it.
The broadcast and print campaign also includes events in which celebrities like Maria Shriver and Elizabeth Rohm have participated.
As part of the campaign, Shriver and Rohm publicly wore bracelets with the "Making the Link" logo, which helped generate buzz
about the campaign.
http://www.tellsomeone.com/, Merck's Web site for Gardsil, will find a hip and inviting layout, with links to personal stories from a diverse group of
women explaining how they discovered the HPV–cancer connection. E-cards, which can be sent with customized messages, are offered
on the site to help visitors spread the word about HPV's role in causing cervical cancer.
The recently launched brand-awareness campaign for MGI Pharma's Aloxi (palonosetron), which treats chemotherapy-induced nausea
and vomiting, strikes a chord of authenticity that is missing in many DTC campaigns. It depicts a breast cancer patient who
has lost her hair from chemotherapy—an extremely vulnerable time for any oncology patient
In an approach that might have scared away more timid marketers, the Aloxi campaign reflects both the ups and downs of chemotherapy
treatment. In the ads, patients and caregivers share their stories, and admit feeling tired from treatment one day and being
happy to be with family or friends the next. That sharing of both positive and negative feelings creates trust with female
By including realistic emotions, the campaign creates a conversation similar to one a woman would have with a friend. Depicting
a woman who is not afraid to be seen without her hair further enhances the "voice of truth" within the ad.
The Aloxi brand invites breast cancer patients to reveal their real strength, like the women in the campaign, and share their
own personal stories. The campaign creates an emotional bond that makes the product's anti-nausea benefit resonate with its
The Merck, AstraZeneca, and MGI Pharma campaigns all include online virtual communities, where women feel comfortable and
welcome. They all create a sense of dialogue—not monologue—and advocacy—not promotion. Through the sharing of personal stories,
creating sisterhood, and offering intimacy, these campaigns demonstrate an understanding of how women communicate with one
another, offering a brand invitation to which women want to respond.
Marcee Nelson is executive creative director of GSW Worldwide and the founder of Pink Tank. She can be reached at email@example.com