The Secret of My Success - Pharmaceutical Executive

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The Secret of My Success
Industry experts sound off on the methods behind an award-winning ad and how the next great DTC campaign will come about

Pharmaceutical Executive


Q: Why is emotion so important in pharma advertising?

A: Bev Lybrand, vice president and general manager for Gardasil at Merck



Emotion allows the audience to relate to your product in a way that clinical data does not. In the case of Gardasil, we're talking about helping to prevent cervical cancer. The science and the data are compelling, but they are only part of the story. Only by focusing on the human element are we able to convey that this is a product that has the potential to protect our daughters, our loved ones, and our friends. The emotion also allows us to educate the consumer and encourage a dialogue between the consumer and the healthcare professional.

A: Mike Rutstein, executive vice president, director of consumer healthcare, Draftfcb New York



When it comes to effective advertising, nothing drives action faster than making consumers smile, laugh, and even cry. When you appeal to the consumers' emotions, the likelihood that consumers will bond and engage with a brand increases significantly. These bonds drive business because consumers see the brands they've made emotional connections with as the ones that understand them—their feelings, their wants, their needs. The best DTC marketers understand the importance of identifying with a consumer's emotion. They recognize that their target audience is often facing life-altering, and potentially life-limiting, healthcare conditions. As a result, these marketers often step outside their typical brand-centric messaging to speak through the lens of the consumer and their experience to ultimately drive action. It's only through understanding, empathy, and compassion that we can truly connect and turn awareness into action.

Q: How do you see DTC advertising changing in the next year?

A: Nancy Turett, global president, health chair, Canada and Latin America, Edelman



The ad will become part of an overall, integrated program that begins with the development process itself. Companies will move from market research to cocreation with the market: Focus-group participants will sit at the table with the advertising, public relations, promotions, medical, and direct-mail agencies—the folks who used to listen and observe from behind a two-way mirror. More and more of the research will take place with online communities of interest as well. The dialogue will be lively and transparent. So we'll see a diverse group of stakeholders at the table together, openly conversing and cocreating ads that educate and spark online and offline discussions. These ads will be just one vehicle among a larger, integrated set of initiatives, some community-based, that build relationships, coach people about health, educate about conditions and diseases, and, in that context, educate about treatments.

A: Anne Meyers, manager, consumer marketing, Eli Lilly & Co., and a PhAME executive committee member



Looking at the PhAME Awards entries over the past nine years, I can see they have really evolved. Early on, the focus was mass advertising, and the messages were more rationally and clinically based. Gradually there was some shift into newer media and the campaigns were really pushing out on creativity. Today, there is a vast spectrum of health marketing campaigns, from TV and print to cutting-edge interactive and relationship-marketing initiatives to multicultural campaigns and programs oriented to public health. These campaigns use a nice balance of insight-based creativity to deliver important health information and really demonstrate what it takes today to create "a better informed and healthier world."


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