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Consumer advertising might be taking a hit in the media and Congress, but pharma was all smiles at this year's PhAME Awards as the best DTC campaigns took the spotlight
Thursday was a big night for Merck and DDB, as the drug company and its agency took home a fistful of awards for various parts of the Gardasil campaign during the 10th Annual Pharmaceutical Advertising and Marketing Excellence Awards (PhAME) gala event at the Guggenheim Museum. Other multiple award winners included AstraZeneca and Saatchi & Saatchi. (Click for a complete list of winners)
While awards winners ran the gamut of campaigns, the biggest change in marketing styles was the move from general awareness campaigns to ads that that focus on how consumers process information in complex disease categories. In these categories, consumers have longer periods of time to acquire information before the initial steps in seeking therapy. Merck's campaign for Gardasil, which took top television ad honors, is an example of this marketing strategy.
"I was very impressed with the depth of the campaign that Merck did with Gardasil," said Laurie Casaday, senior manager for brand corporate affairs at AZ. "They approached the campaign from all different priorities, and they did such a great job raising the awareness of HPV among teenage girls and their mothers."
From Facebook to movie theaters to print and television, Merck and DDB hit traditional as well as new media, drawing in consumers with a powerful campaign that featured young girls empowered to talk about the human papilloma virus (HPV). Since June of 2006, when Gardasil launched, there have been more than 26 million doses of the drug distributed worldwide.
"When I think about Gardasil, the entire approach is to make sure we get as many appropriate people vaccinated as possible," said David Schechter, executive director, Merck vaccines and infectious disease. "We looked at innovative and creative approaches to get to the consumers, and have them take action and talk to their healthcare professionals."
Celebrating New Media
Over the years, PhAME has been quick to include award categories for new advertising methods, including online and integrated campaigns. This year was no different.
"I think the biggest change we've seen is the growing sophistication in how pharma?which doesn't have a long history in pharmaceutical advertising?has evolved to better understand consumer behavior and reflect that in the integration of better consumer marketing plans," said Tom Mangano, assistant vice president of communications and e-business at Wyeth. (Mangano has been an executive committee member of PhAME for the past five years.)
While AstraZeneca was lauded for everything from best public relations campaign to best in-office program, the company is proud of its Best Interactive Campaign award for Celebration Chain, a branded Web site that got people to make digital paper dolls in honor of loved ones with breast cancer. For every doll made, AZ donated a dollar to charity.
"In the future, we're going to see a lot more campaigns like Celebration Chain," said Denise Campbell, senior director of consumer marketing at AZ. "
As the emerging digital landscape continues to change, and we continue to live in a world with consumer-generated media, we are going to be continually working together as an industry to figure out how to make that work in a responsible manner."
2008 First Place