Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Typical #Pharma Method of Paying a Pittance for Real Patient Stories to Use in Marketing

Typical #Pharma Method of Paying a Pittance for Real Patient Stories to Use in Marketing | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Bayer goes Glamour-ous with 'Girls' star for new IUD campaign


Pfizer, Bayer contraceptive efforts target goal-seeking millennials with contests, scary survey.

Hey, young women: You have plans. Dreams. Goals. And by the way, getting pregnant unexpectedly could throw those visions for your future under the bus. That's the (implicit) message in several newly launched campaigns from Pfizer and Bayer Healthcare, including a pitch for Bayer's new device Skyla supported by a fellow millennial, the actress Zosia Mamet of "Girls" fame.


Bayer has teamed up with the women's magazineGlamour--and recruited the HBO series actress--for Skyla Make Your Mark, a contest to "celebrate the unique and brave things women are doing." Art, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, scholarship, research--heck, even mountain-climbing.


To enter, women submit essays and either photos or videos about the ways they're "making their mark," the company said in its announcement. Winners get a $5,000 grant and a trip to New York for the magazine's annual Women of the Year Gala. Skyla, of course, is one of Bayer's IUD brands.

Pharma Guy's insight:


Here's a classic example of how pharma marketers save money by hiring real patients to tell their stories: 


In 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer was about to air new Lipitor TV ads that feature a non-celebrity:


"The new television ad, set to debut Tuesday, features a testimonial from heart-attack survivor John Erlendson, a 58-year-old California talent agent. He didn't take a cholesterol-fighting drug before his heart attack last year despite a history of high cholesterol, and his ad urges people in similar situations to be more proactive." (See "Pfizer Drops Celebrity Pitch in New Lipitor Spots").


According to the WSJ article, Erlendson will be paid "a union scale rate," as opposed to $1.35 million that Pfizer paid Dr. Robert Jarvik for Lipitor ads that he famously appeared in (see "Jarvik: A Modern DTC Tragedy").

For "on-camera principals," the rate is $567.10 (not including an $83.93 pension contribution).

Doing the math, Pfizer will save $1,349,432.90 using Erlendson vs. Jarvik! 

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Data gives credibility, storytelling provides truth in pharma

Data gives credibility, storytelling provides truth in pharma | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Now more than ever, we need to focus on making brands memorable and storytelling is the way to do this.


Every story follows a powerful narrative revolving around:


  1. a central arc (which is a situation or an incident to revolve around your story)

  2. a protagonist (the hero of the story, which should always be the brand)

  3. a antagonist (the villain!)

  4. the resolution (how was the villain defeated in the incident by the brand)


The main characters in any content marketing strategy are your brand and your customers, this is the most important reason for using content marketing personas. These personas allow you to play the role of your customers, showing you are empathetic to their needs. Why is this important? Ultimately this will increase engagement with your brand, as the stories you tell will resonate with them for longer.

Pharma Guy's insight:


I fail to see how fictional patient stories provides "truth in pharma." Some patient stories win awards, but the top award sometimes goes to the made up story and NOT the true patient story (i.e., TRUTH). Read, for example, this post:

Fictional Patient Story Wins Gold, Whereas Authentic Patient Story Wins Bronze at Lions Health 2014

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Pharma Guy's comment, August 6, 2014 6:25 AM
Absolutely, says @Ash_Rishi, author of the original article. "The story should always use real patients, otherwise it will not be authentic!" I said: "With social media there should be plenty of real stories worth sharing by pharma mktrs."