Public Relations News | The health game changers



Allie Tozzi

Let’s talk about the ever-elusive challenge healthcare marketers face: effectively removing digital clutter to capture the attention of target audiences in an engaging way. At imre, we firmly believe that in order to strategically differentiate brands in crowded markets and influence consumer decision-making, we must first take a moment to listen.

The déjà vu when consuming content in the digital space is obvious. For example, a woman of an ambiguous age looks distressed. Maybe she’s trying to go for a walk, playing with her kids, or having a hard time doing a simple task. Then suddenly she went from sad and defeated to happy, back to “doing what she loves”. We have all seen this. It’s vague enough not to promise too much, and if you were to watch those TV spots muted, you might not even know what condition this treatment or product is associated with.

This sea of ​​similarity is the reason why some pharmaceutical brands are throwing the rules of traditional marketing out the window. While the risks they take are not drastic, there is at least an opportunity to stand out as so much is lost in the noise of the digital space.

This article is featured in O’Dwyer’s Oct. ’21 Healthcare & Medical PR Magazine
(see PDF version)

Pharma, but make it POP … culture

Pharmaceutical advertising doesn’t have to be just one thing (usually an ambiguous TV spot, copied and pasted for each channel). One of the ways that brands are tackling this is by leaning into pop culture and bringing personality to their product.

Imvexxy makes her patients feel awe-inspiring, much like a Duchess or Queen invited to a summer ball in Bridgerton, fusing beauty and culturally relevant connections to highlight her estrogen treatment for menopause. This campaign urges postmenopausal women to continue wearing their crowns, rather than standing back during this time of transition.

Talk to patients rather than them

Vyleesi, an imre client, used current “dating slang” to educate women about HSDD and loss of sexual desire through their “Ghosted by Desire” campaign. To better connect with the public, we were inspired by direct-to-consumer brands by tapping into a shared cultural experience and emotion. Not only did this campaign embrace the symmetry between a term and an experience that so many women resonated with, but it made the condition intuitive, memorable, and part of the cultural moment.

To further amplify and build dialogue around the campaign, we used influencers on social media and blogs to encourage women to speak out openly and confidently about their sexual health. Instead of just saying ‘you might have low sexual desire, here’s a possible solution’, this campaign translated the disease into a metaphor that makes it easier for women to equate their symptoms with the way they talk about it. other complicated situations in their life.

Taking no chances is the riskiest thing you can do

Traditional pharmaceutical campaigns can cause people they see as “influencers” to perform less than compelling that appears scripted, rather than authentic to the brand or spokesperson. He basically screams “this is another paid transaction”.

But one way for some brands to change that narrative is to recruit influencers who have recognizable and distinct personalities, even though that can pose a risk.

Birth control brand Annovera called on actress Whitney Cummings to promote “Vagina Appreciation Day” in April. Whitney doesn’t mince words and this partnership was definitely a gamble that paid off.

One of Nurtec’s latest campaigns features Whoopi Goldberg; While the TV spot falls a bit flat, her personal Instagram post didn’t. Instead of releasing a scaled-down version of TVC – I was there, I did this – Whoopi shared a “silly reel” of his swear words and messed up the “ODT” language. The post copy connects to the brand, but this video really conveys his tone of voice.

Go fast or get left behind

What all of these brands have in common is that they are ready to go fast and try something new. If they fail, they quickly fail and continue. The pharmaceutical arena might not necessarily be the industry that comes to mind as a cultural epicenter or a place where brands flood their channels with a constant string of comedians and TikTok trends. However, by embracing culturally relevant topics and conversations and speaking to patients as people, brands have the opportunity to forge deeper and more authentic connections with their target audiences. Meet people where they are and talk to them in a way they can understand.

How do you get there? There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and depending on your brand and current goals, approaches may change over time.

Saving some of your budget and resources for ad hoc opportunities can give you the time and space to act quickly when an unforeseen opportunity to test something new presents itself.

If you are the first to do so, feel unprecedentedly comfortable to follow. The wonderful thing about being the first to try something is that there is no right or wrong way. It’s an opportunity to forge more effective and creative marketing solutions and become something more than that oft-sought-after case study.

Just because there’s a new trend, platform, or ad unit doesn’t mean it fits your overall goals or audience. Listening is the key here. What do your audiences and communities care about? What do they think, feel and do when they engage with your brand? This is a fundamental barometer for gauging whether or not your test has a solid foundation.

Going fast and shattering previous beliefs about what can and cannot be done in the pharmaceutical space can be a daunting task. Realistically, this won’t happen quickly – or without strong persuasion – but brands and marketers should team up in order to push back the goals of what can be done. If pharma is to continue to strive for real connections with consumers in the digital space, it must be willing and courageous enough to try.


Allie Tozzi is Senior Program Manager at great health.


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