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June 1, 2010
May was a busy month for new FaceBook healthcare-related ads ... well, at least it was on my FaceBook profile. The ads that stood out the most were the EpiPen ad (the 1st Canadian pharma FaceBook ad by King Pharmaceuticals) and the Ontario's Community Pharmacies ads (16 versions of the ad throughout the month). Previous posts on FaceBook healthcare-related ads that targeted my FaceBook profile can be found here, here, here, here and here.
May 18, 2010
Most people think of social media as a marketing tool, but it can be useful to achieve all sorts of objectives, including lobbying. The Ontario's Community Pharmacies have leveraged several social media tactics for lobbying purposes, and they are focusing on mainstream sites. If you live in Ontario and have visited your FaceBook profile during the months of April and May, there are good chances that you would have noticed an ad stating that 'Your Pharmacy is at Risk'. In fact, during this period, I noticed at least 15 different versions of this ad. The copy was always the same, but the image was different. See all the ads that appeared on my personal FaceBook profile and ad board below; On May 17, I noticed a similar ad, but with a more dramatic header: "Danger for Local Pharmacy". I only saw this ad once and it seemed to have disappeared thereafter, having been replaced by the ads with the original header. I only saw this particular ad once, as the ads appeared to have quickly reverted back to the original header. In fact, all of the ads seemed to have disappeared completely sometime during the week of May 17th. When you clicked on the ads, they linked to StopCuts.ca, a website by Ontario’s Community Pharmacies (which, by the way, contains a lot of similar content as what appears on the official Ontario's Community Pharmacies website). The website, and associated social media tactics (RSS, FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, and several methods to contact the government), were initiated as a strategy to counteract the threat of governmental cuts to community health care. This post is not meant to promote nor discredit the strategic objectives of the lobbying campaign, but rather to look at the social media components that make up the campaign. Ontario's Community Pharmacies has a rather popular FaceBook page, with 14,892 fans (`likes`) as of May 25 2010. The FaceBook page seems to be rallying a lot of support from pharmacists and consumers ready to lobby the government. The wall of the page is loaded with comments from supporters providing each other with tips and resources to assist with the lobbying activities and events. The group also has a Twitter account with the username "ONPharmacies", which has 325 followers and is listed 8 times as of May 25 2010. The discussion and chatter is constant and abundant on the FaceBook page, but it seems to be non-existent on the Twitter account. There is a hashtag for #stopcutsdotca, but when you look at the real-time usage of this hashtag, it seems to be almost solely used by the ONPharmacies account. This could be because Canadians, in general, have lagged in the adoption of Twitter. And finally, there is a YouTube channel which boasts 31,346 views of all their videos since the channel was created on January 10 2010. According to a quick calculation, there have been approximately an average of 265 views of the Ontario Community Pharmacists' videos on a daily basis (but I'm sure there were peak periods when large lobbying activities were taking place, and lull periods in between). To find out if Ontario's Community Pharmacies had any blogger outreach as part of this campaign, I searched IceRocket.com's blog section to see if there were any blogs that either mentionned the organization's name, or linked to the StopCuts.ca website. This search demonstrated that during the months of April and May, 9 blogs had covered a story that either included the organization's name or linked to their website. The low number of blogs that included an article about the organization, as well as the fact that the blog posts ranged within a 2-month period, suggests that there was no active blog outreach as part of this campaign. This may have been a supportive tactic, but I think the group's outreach has been very effective on FaceBook and YouTube, therefore they are probably better off to continue focusing on these two venues. The one question that I am left with is whether most followers and fans of the Ontario's Community Pharmacies' groups are pharmacists and their employees, or whether there is a large consumer group rallying behind the Ontario's Community Pharmacies in support of their cause. Based on the type of comments written on the FaceBook wall, my guess is that it is the former (but this group may just have been the most vocal). Either way, it is amazing to see a bunch of people who feel very passionately about a topic gather and communicate together in an open online forum. Stay in touch, Natalie Connect with me on the following networks: FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn —————————————————– To ensure that you receive all new updates to this blog, insert your e-mail address in the box in the top-right corner. Your e-mail will remain private and will not be shared with any third parties.
May 13, 2010
A brave Canadian pharmaceutical company has taken the plunge and is giving FaceBook direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising a try. King Pharmaceuticals has been promoting its EpiPen.ca website via the following English and French FaceBook ads: The call-to-action is to take the allergy risk test, but it appears as though the main objective of the site itself is to introduce the new EpiPen and EpiPen Jr (0.3 and 0.15 mg epinephrine) Auto-injectors ("EpiPen") to Canadian consumers and healthcare professionals. Both the FaceBook ads and the site are DTC advertising. Although King Pharmaceuticals launched the new EpiPen and EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors on April 14 2010, I first noticed the FaceBook ad on Monday May 10th 2010. Of course, it is possible that the ad was launched sooner and that it just came to my attention later. Can a prescription Rx brand copy this social media model? EpiPen falls under “ethical pharmaceuticals” in the regulatory system. However, it is not a schedule F product (prescription required for sale). Therefore, section c01.044 of Canada's Food and Drug Regulations Act (which limits pharmaceutical DTC advertising to only product name, price, quantity) does not apply. To promote a prescription product (Schedule F) in a FaceBook ad (DTC), only the product name, price and quantity would be allowable because it is a public direct-to-consumer placement. Since the PAAB approves campaigns as a whole, this would also apply to any website that the FaceBook ad would link to. For more information about Canadian regulatory requirements for prescription products promoted in social media, see Highlights from “Social Media Marketing in Pharma: What Works in Canada" or contact Patrick Massad at the PAAB. If you are interested in learning more about Canadian regulatory guidelines for other types of healthcare products, you might like this article. Is this the first Canadian pharma ad on FaceBook? As far as the ads that I have seen on my personal FaceBook profile, this is the first one that I have seen from a Canadian pharmaceutical company. There may have been others. I might have missed them, or perhaps I was not part of the target market for the ad. So unless somebody tells me otherwise, I do believe that this is the very first branded FaceBook ad by a Canadian pharmaceutical company. In fact, I have not seen an unbranded FaceBook ad by any Canadian pharma companies. I you know of others, then please share in the comments section. Is the FaceBook ad driving traffic to the EpiPen.ca website? Since the EpiPen FaceBook ad seems to have the objective of driving unique visitor traffic to the EpiPen.ca website, it is reasonable to track traffic to the site as an ROI measurement. As an outsider, I will use data from Alexa and Compete. The following data and snapshot were taken on May 12 2010:
- Alexa traffic rank as of May 12 2010 is 1,562,812
- Alexa traffic rank in Canada is 27,244.
- 1,177 monthly unique visitors to the website in February 2010.
April 12, 2010
In October 2009, Roche Diagnostics launched a Canadian social site called Accu-Check Diabetes Link. Despite a rather clean and simple look, there appear to be several opportunities within the site to influence the user's experience. There is the site itself, which encompasses;
- a blog: You can subscribe to the blog via RSS or e-mail. You can also share the blog articles, but you cannot add comments.
- links to various diabetes online resources: "What we're reading",
- diabetes news from online sources: "In the News",
- a widget called 'The NEST' which helps diabetes tweeps stay in contact with one another and even introduce themselves to the diabetes community on Twitter. The NEST widget can easily be shared and posted anywhere online. It was created by Ignite Health, Incendia Health Studios.
- as well as product and corporate information (see tabs at the top of the home page "Accu-Check Products" and "About").
March 15, 2010
Many Canadian companies donate to charitable organizations. They write a cheque, have a press release with a photo of key people from both organizations holding a mega-sized cheque, and oftentimes the promotion fizzles from that point on. Pfizer Canada Inc. is taking a unique approach in ensuring that its sponsorship of Canada's Paralympics Team gets noticed by Canadians, all while promoting their MoreThanMedication.ca website. Last week, Pfizer Canada posted a video honouring Canada's Paralympics Team on their MoreThanMedication.ca website, which features the strength and passion of Team Canada sledge hockey player Todd Nicholson. The objective is to make the video go 'viral' and get viewed by as many Canadians as possible in order to raise awareness about the Paralympics taking place in Vancouver, and the determination and passion of the Paralympics athletes. Viewers of the video are encouraged to share it with their friends and networks either via FaceBook, Twitter, Digg, Delicious, or even by e-mail. Everytime they do so, Pfizer donates $5.00 (Cdn) to the Canadian Paralympics Team, up to a maximum of $50,000 (Cdn). Here is the statement that automatically appeared on my Twitter and FaceBook accounts when I clicked on the share button. Notice that there is no mention of Pfizer or of the $5 donation. Personally, I believe a mention of the donation by Pfizer would have peaked more people's interest and would have increased the number of views; I also saved the video on Delicious and gave it the thumbs up on Digg, but so far it appears that only two people have done so on these particular networks. In order to reach its goal of $50,000, the video needs to be shared 10,000 times. By early Monday morning, March 14th, approximately an entire week after having launched the video, the digital counter on the MoreThanMedication.ca website showed that Pfizer had raised a total of $20,400 via the sharing of the video so far, which equates to 4,080 views. Note that this is the number of views, not the number of unique viewers. For example, I shared the video via all 5 methods that were made available (Twitter, FaceBook, Delicious, Digg and e-mail), which counts as 5 views. But one also needs to consider that it is possible that more people viewed the video and shared it and that these 'shares' did not get counted for the donation. For example, if somebody shared the video by retweeting or copying and pasting the statement into their profiles without going directly through the MoreThanMedication.ca website, these 'shares' would not be counted. This is because Pfizer is monitoring the number of 'shares' via their internal web analytics. Although the campaign is meant to raise awareness within the Canadian population, viewers from other countries are not prevented from sharing the video and contributing to the donation per view. After the campaign is completed, it would be interesting to get a breakdown of the percentage of viewers who shared the video link via e-mail, FaceBook, Twitter, Digg and Delicious. My guess is that e-mail and FaceBook will be the two predominant methods of sharing of the video. Here are some statistics to support my rationale; 1) Despite the fact that the share of Canadian Internet visits surpassed e-mail in April 2009 (HitWise, May 2009, chart below), e-mail is still ranked in 4th position. 2) The most popular social network with Canadians is FaceBook. Canadians have low awareness of Digg and Delicious, and appear to minimally use these social bookmarking networks (CNW Group and Leger Marketing, Social Media Reality Check, April 2009, chart below). What about YouTube? So far, I have been unsuccessful in finding the Paralympics video by Pfizer on YouTube. It would have been interesting to see how many views the video could have had via YouTube, especially considering that YouTube is the 2nd most used social network by Canadians according to the CNW Group and Leger Marketing study. My gut tells me that this medium was intentionally not included because Pfizer Canada wants Canadians to visit the MoreThanMedication.ca website, and posting the video on YouTube may have diluted this particular objective. However, I do believe that the video would have more viral ability if it were made available on a Pfizer Canada channel on YouTube. What are your thoughts on this? A purely Canadian initiative: Pfizer Canada's MoreThanMedication.ca website is a purely Canadian campaign, as is the video honouring Canada's Paralympics Team. Canadian regulatory guidelines: The campaign appears to be fully within the Canadian regulatory guidelines as there do not appear to be any product mentions on either the website or the videos. Pfizer Canada has tested social media before: Some of you may recall that Pfizer tested the social media environment last year with their "Be Brave" campaign. This was another campaign devised to raise funds for another charitable organization, Starlight Children's Foundation. The only sharing option at the time appears to have been e-mail. According to the information that I found on their MoreThanMedication.ca website, it appears as though they reached their objective of raising $50,000 via the sharing of this particular video. Search "Be Brave Pfizer" in YouTube, and you will find that the "Be Brave" video that was posted on the CNW Group channel garned 22,230 views over the past year, which ranks it as the 2nd most watched YouTube video on the CNW Group channel. -------------------------------------------------------- Many thanks to Veronica Piacek, Director Consumer Communications & Relations at Pfizer Canada, for taking the time to share her insights with me regarding this Pfizer social media campaign. Congratulations to the Pfizer Canada team, and their suppliers who have assisted them with the video in honour of the Canadian Paralympics Team; Klick Communications (morethanmedication.ca website), Zig Toronto (video creation) and Strategic Objectives (PR agency). And most of all, best wishes in making the Canada's Paralympics Team video a viral success and raising $50,000. ----------------------------------------------------- What do you think of this Canadian pharma social media example? What would you do the same, what would you do differently? There is no judgement here, it is just a discussion so that we can learn from one another. Stay in touch, Natalie Connect with me on the following networks: FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn —————————————————– To ensure that you receive all new updates to this blog, insert your e-mail address in the box in the top-right corner. Your e-mail will remain private and will not be shared with any third parties.