The Future of Pharmaceutical Advertising

The Future of Pharmaceutical Advertising

Discover new trends in marketing for pharma companies that are fresh, creative, and effective.

Author James Hurman had spent 30 years gathering data and doing research on the link between commercial success and creativity. Over the years, he analyzed results from winners of the Cannes Lions’ Creative Marketer of the Year Award and found that the share prices of 80% of the winning companies were highest during the time period right before winning the award.

What did he ultimately conclude?

He found that brands were most valuable when they were doing their best creative work.

Pharmaceutical advertising gurus apparently have made note of these findings, and winners of this year’s award have acted on them. Within pharmaceutical companies everywhere, the Chief Marketing Director has come to take on a much-expanded list of duties and with it, mounting levels of pressure to produce pharmaceutical advertising that produces measurable results. Marketing directors today are discovering that creativity in communication is more important than many executives had previously considered.

Out with the Old

The past couple of decades have seen pharmaceutical companies use advertising dollars to ease concerns about inflated drug costs to consumers, citing a need for them to offset steep investments in research and development. However, the public is no longer buying into that narrative – especially amid the current opioid crisis.

In with the New

The bottom line is that with the changing attitudes of consumers toward pharma companies, industry marketers now must find new and interesting ways to connect with an audience that is predominantly pretty apprehensive.

How will they do that? By getting creative.

And it seems to be working. Cannes introduced a specific category for pharmaceutical marketers in 2014, and out of all industry agencies in the running for awards, a record 16 pharma companies made the awards list, taking home ten Lions.

How Can You Get More Creative with Your Pharmaceutical Advertising?

  1.    Focus on Production

Organizing timelines and budgets is crucial to ensure that emphasis is placed on crafting and production. Too often, not enough time is spent on the beginning stages, but it’s the stage at which ordinary ideas are transformed into great ideas. A phase that had previously been traditionally rushed through and dismissed as non-important, the creative development phase is now rising as absolutely crucial to advertising success.

  1.    Don’t Dismiss the Possibility of Thoughtful Partnerships

Pharma marketers need to look beyond their own pharmaceutical realm for inspiration and creativity in order to show consumers how their products are valuable to others. For example, Philips enlisted the help of world-renowned choirmaster Gareth Malone and a choir of people with breathing difficulties to advertise its SimplyGo portable oxygen concentrator. The group was shown performing “Every Breath You Take” by The Police at the Apollo Theater in Harlem – the end product was a moving piece that showed the company celebrating humanity and all the people for which the product improves quality of life.

Did it work? You bet.

The campaign earned more than 650 million media impressions and over 15 million views. Sales of the SimplyGo device rose by a whopping 14% during that quarter, peaking at an all-time high.

  1.    Understand that Creativity Needs Technology

Appealing to the emotional side of people is what consumers these days reward companies for; making purpose the priority, instead of products, is what sells today. The key for pharmaceutical advertising gurus to implement is that they must find ways to show audiences a genuine concern for the health of the public. Consumers also want to see companies with a commitment to a cause that is larger than its profits.

This is not to say that technology is out the window.

In fact, technology can help pharma companies do this.

To illustrate, McCann Health worked with the Ministry of Health in Afghanistan and launched a line of wearable technology to introduce a bracelet for kids that captures data about their vaccinations. The bracelet, known as the “Immunity Charm,” was a practical solution and a means of communication. This campaign revealed the company’s commitment to children and to public health on a global scale, lending credit to its purpose beyond profits.

Top marketers across the planet know the value of investing in creativity – it can create competitive advantages in the long run, even though it can be difficult to quantify across quarterly cycles. Without timelines that include concentration on creative production, a pharma company’s image will suffer, and effective communication will remain a lost advantage.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hone your skills in pharmaceutical advertising and stay competitive in a changing niche. Sign up for one of our conferences today and reserve your seat before they’re all taken.


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By |2019-06-20T20:54:21-04:00May 30th, 2019|

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