Please login to the form below

Not currently logged in

A&E: aware and educated

Jon King and Jim Boulton of Story Worldwide discuss five cutting-edge digital campaigns that go 'beyond advertising' in their direct-to-patient approach

Aware and educated signEducating patients is at the heart of the campaigns we have assessed here. Whether it's educating the user about a condition or illness, informing patients of the range of treatments available to them or how to cope with the day-to-day challenges or prejudices a particular condition brings, any marketing campaign launched in this environment must strive to educate and raise awareness of positive conversations so that its audience can join in on that big conversation forum called the web.

This means that the campaigns' messages must be clear, user-friendly, jargon-free and that the information should be accessible. With this in mind, we have found five digital campaigns that have adopted a 'nudge marketing' - see 'A push in the right direction' in Pharmaceutical Marketing, October 2010 - approach to awareness and education.

We have trawled through some recent examples and, in the spirit of educating our readers (we think it's important to practice what you preach), we have created an 'Education-o-meter' to help teach you about our findings. We've rated each campaign on a scale of 1–5 on the Education-o-meter.


IN-BED STORY — Levitra, Bayer Schering


In Bed Story

This campaign for an erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment consists of a series of animations hosted on a YouTube channel and a dedicated website. The website is well optimised for search and makes great use of video but it is the series of animations (and in particular their viral potential) that elevates this campaign above the rest. The website would benefit from more user involvement and it's a shame the YouTube channel isn't open for comments, but this great campaign is still the benchmark against which we measure our own direct-to-patient work.

Education meter 4

Education-o-meter: 4 (a 'B' grade) 


PSORIASIS 360 — disease awareness, Janssen

This campaign sees Janssen pushing the boundaries. Consisting of a website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, desktop tool, YouTube channel and iPhone app, this campaign really does embrace the full potential of the social web. While all of these channels have been used by various campaigns before, this feels like the first time they have all been brought together in an uncompromised way.

Perhaps the most pioneering aspect of the campaign is the Facebook page. Janssen is allowing comments on its wall and is operating a post-moderation policy, simply asking page members not to mention specific drugs or medicines in their posts. Presumably, a very watchful eye is being kept on the wall. The YouTube link is yet to be made live but this aside it's a polished, well considered, forward-thinking campaign.

Psoriasis 360 campaign

Education-o-meter: 5 (an 'A' grade)

Education meter 5  

THE NOVARTIS CHANNEL — corporate awareness

Novartis channel

The Novartis channel has an integrated design that's attractive and user friendly. The videos are a little better, although the use of library music behind every piece is pretty annoying, like being caught in a lift between floors. Too much of the content appears to be internal corporate conversations, IRIR or puff pieces pushed on to this public space. So, despite the better look and feel, there aren't many viewers and there aren't many subscribers — the key influencers who could and should be the brand or product advocates. The challenge is to take social media seriously and find a better way to share important information or tell the brand or product story.

  Education meter 1.5

Education-o-meter: 1.5 (a 'D' grade)


QUESTIVAL.CO.UK — haemophilia, Bayer Healthcare

This site provides information for young adult haemophiliacs on travelling, alcohol, smoking, drugs, body art, sex and other unanswered questions in relation to their condition they may have. The site makes heavy use of Flash and augmented reality, even exploiting the computer's own microphone and webcam to create the interactive experience. But instead of enhancement, all this technology acts as an obstacle, getting in the way of the excellent information. In the site's defence, there is an HTML version of the site, but this feels like an after-thought and has not been search engine optimised or given half the love the Flash site has; a clear case of form over function.

Questival campaign

Education-o-meter: 1 (an 'E' grade)

Education meter 1

GSKVISION— corporate awareness


It's great to see that pharma companies are taking the social web more seriously and have started publishing regularly to channels like YouTube. But content won't attract audiences unless it's interesting and people don't subscribe to sites that promise little and aren't well designed. If a film fails to tell a good story or is boring to watch, even interested audiences stop watching and won't pass them to others, which is especially important in patient communications. Sadly, GSK's site doesn't look distinctive and is dominated by talking head video news releases, which are, unsurprisingly, not much watched. None has had more than 3,000 views; with only around 300 subscribers, this must be a disappointment to GSK.

 Education meter 1

Education-o-meter: 1 (an 'E' grade)

Jim BoultonThe Authors
Jon King
, managing director, and Jim Boulton (pictured), deputy managing director of Story Worldwide

To comment on this article, email 

Ad Lib is a creative critique and does not take into account the marketing objectives behind the campaigns reviewed. 




Related Links

Take a look at a range of adverts from multiple agencies in The Gallery
Use Find-a-Service to find the agency that meets your needs

30th November 2010


Subscribe to our email news alerts


Add my company

We’re a specialist health consultancy that supports companies, healthcare professionals and patients to work hand in hand with a common...

Latest intelligence

Rare diseases: not so rare after all
The brave new world addressing rare diseases – a way ahead to better and more inclusive treatment...
Webinar: Evolving Patient Journeys - How to generate deeper insights in a changing healthcare landscape
Register now for part one in a series, Evolving Patient Journeys, in which our experts look at the main ways in which the patient journey has evolved in recent years....
It’s long been the case that pharma lags behind other industries when it comes to digital adoption and engagement. So, what can we learn from these other industries, and how...