Advertising Week

AWNewYork_OfficialGuide-2017

Advertising Week 10th Anniversary Official Guide

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226 BRAND ED A golden retriever runs down the beach to catch a Frisbee thrown by a 60ish man wearing rolled-up khakis and a billowing white shirt. Cue the name of a drug, any drug. It's easy to blame a bland health-care advertising message on lawyers, the FDA, and fair balance requirements that govern what you can and can't say. So, how can agencies craft a winning health-care campaign when they're constrained by rules? By the time you've run a juicy idea through the regulation processor, what comes out the other side is often stripped of any flavor. However, according to Graham Mills, Global Chief Creative Officer at Publicis Health, some great work has been done recently to bring health-care messages to the con- sumer in unexpected ways. Consider these: Last year Pfizer launched an advertising campaign that featured sto- ries not about its pharmaceuticals but its scientists, all of them cancer and vaccine researchers. The campaign was part of a larger initiative called "Before It Became a Medicine," which focused on how Pfizer brings new therapies to patients. And in 2015, Nivea launched a sunscreen promotion in Brazil using dolls made with UV-sensitive materials. The dolls turn red when exposed to the sun if sunscreen isn't applied, but if a child puts sunblock on the Nivea doll, it will be protected from sunburn. A well-known example of creativity is Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty," which began in 2004 and has featured women of all sizes, shapes, and colors. The campaign illustrated that women don't have to be model-thin to be beautiful, and opened the door to conversations about body size and beauty that changed attitudes about "ideal" feminine beauty. In 2012, Melbourne's Metro Trains' wildly successful "Dumb Ways to Die" public ser- vice announcement promoted rail safety by showing cute cartoon characters doing stupid things—including jumping onto train tracks to retrieve an escaped balloon—that led to their death. The catchy melody helped the PSA go viral, with 30 million views in its first two weeks. According to Mills, there are a few ways you can bring this kind of creativity into the mix as you approach your next health- care campaign. Consult with your legal team and the FDA from the get-go. "Don't get all the way to the end of a project, do a big ta-da!, and then get pushback," he says. "Get the lawyers involved in cocreating with you." For example, for the health website Rebif, a drug for treating multiple sclerosis (MS), Mills and his team asked the FDA early in the process if they would be allowed to pres- ent the required fair balance statement (the disclosure that outlines the risks and ben- efits of a drug) as an audio file instead of the traditional print format. "It had never been done before. But the FDA said, 'Absolutely, yes,'" Mills says. And for another drug, they won permission from the FDA to present the package insert as an infographic. Have a conversation with your audience. "Brands can't just talk at patients anymore," Mills explains. "The doctor-patient relationshiphas become more of a con- versation as patients go in [to their appointments armed] with more informa- tion. The days of patients being told what to do [for their health], especially by pharma- ceutical brands, are gone." One way for health-care companies to get their messages across is through social media. Mills points out the Facebook page they created, also for Rebif, aimed at the MS fraternity. "The multiple sclerosis community is one of the most connected communities of any kind of treatment area," Mills says. Because of the regulations against people posting their experiences or opinions about a drug treatment, they worked closely with their legal team to ad- dress all the potential issues, such as how to monitor the site for posts that break the rules, how to help people who post about their struggles with MS, and how to handle inappropriate posts. "We took time to walk through that journey," says Mills. Now the MS Lifelines Facebook page is the most engaged social site in multiple sclerosis, according to Mills. Be customer-obsessed. Sure, you have to deal with lots of regulation, but listening to what your audience wants and needs is central to developing effective imagina- tive messaging. Then figure out the most emotive way to push the boundaries of storytelling without breaking the rules. Let dolls that get sunburned or cartoon characters with a death wish be your muse—consider how well they connected with the target audience and apply that ap- proach to what your own audience wants or needs to know about your product. Let your imagination go wild, then once you've hit on the right idea for your customer, tai- lor it as needed to comply with regulations. Bottom line? "You can't get away with the same old, same old," says Mills. "People are breaking the mold of what health-care advertising is and really transforming the health space." And, as increasing numbers of agencies move into health-care adver- tising, much more original thinking will be needed in the future. • 1 2 3

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