Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

One of the cool things about social media is the sharing of things that interest you with others.  Sending links to people on Twitter or Facebook, for example, is much easier and more user-friendly than sending an email these days.

One such example is this short YouTube video that Mary Canady of Comprendia sent me where David Welch of Whitecoat Strategies explains how they use the video medium to help explain complex things in science more simply and visually:

The beauty of video is that it can be used effectively to communicate all sorts of ideas, whether they are for PR, communication, promotion or education purposes and of course, you can have dialogue and engagement on a YouTube post itself or through blog posts like this one. Ultimately, it is about relationships with people, not push channel marketing. 

A number of Pharma companies already have YouTube channels, including J&J and Novartis.  sanofi-aventis, meanwhile, have their own online tv channel, which has some neat videos on the drug discovery process, for example, but nowhere to engage and comment that I can see.

The power of video to help Pharma and Biotechnology companies provide better medical education and awareness, let alone engage with people is still a much underused and underestimated tool out there.

You can also see some cool real life examples the guys at Whitecoat have done on their website.

Who else is using video or do you have some other examples to share?

Do feel free to comment below if you know of any great examples!

4 Responses to “Using video in social media to bring science and biotechnology alive”

  1. Bonnie Southcott

    Why do so many pharma brands continue to use actors to tell the patient story? Check out Real patients. Real stories. The power of authenticity.

  2. MaverickNY

    That’s a very good question, Bonnie.
    Personally, I’m not in favour of that approach either, and preferred to have real patients tell their own stories when I was in marketing for Gleevec at Novartis.

  3. MaverickNY

    Actually, after looking at the Cystic Fibrosis site, I have to say that I was impressed. It was even more amusing to noticed that the site is sponsored by Novartis (see logo at the bottom right).
    Perhaps I’m biased as a former employee, but generally the company prefers to involve real patients in active advocacy.
    I’m not sure if actors are still permissible under the OIG rules, unless taking the therapy they are promoting.

  4. ellen hoenig

    Sally, per your tweet: “can companies use actors for drug ads? Thought only people on therapy were allowed?” I’ll try to add some perspective I hope…
    The use of ‘actors’ in DTC drug ads is not against the law, and of course it depends on the particular ad…if it’s a DTC product ad using a first person quote, many would argue that it should be a real patient. But if it’s an advertisement communicating a new drug using the product’s label for messaging, it does not have to use a real patient (though the actor must portray the label of the ad– i.e. if the ad is for a pediatric prescription drug indicated for children 6-12 then the ‘actor’ must be 6-12 and be doing something realistic for the condition and label etc.). Often when a new drug is being introduced, the company may not know of a real person/patient to enlist in the ad OR a real person may not want to be in a national ad for a particular condition. I.e. they may not want to tell the world that their child has adhd or that they have depression. So the actors in these ads are not meant to be a bait and switch, or introduce in- authenticity, but to help communicate the idea of the ad for the prescription product-generate education, interest and perhaps a discussion with their doctor…Also many ads will acknowledge that the reader may not experience the same results as the person in the ad…Having said this, the trend is definitely to use as many real patients as possible in DTC communications (TV, print, web, video etc) …
    There are two situations where actors should not be used as outlined in the new PhRMA guidelines that went into effect March, 2009:
    1)If the DTC ad is using a famous spokesperson/celebrity endorser, i.e. Sally Fields for Osteoporosis Rx, then the famous person should be a ‘patient’ of the prescription product and the ad should accurately reflect the opinions, findings, beliefs or experience of the endorser. (Companies should maintain verification of the basis of any actual or implied endorsement, including whether the endorser is or has been a user of the product.)
    2)If the DTC product ad is featuring actors in the roles of healthcare professionals, it should identify that actors are being used. If actual healthcare professionals are featured and are compensated for their appearance, the advertisement should acknowledge the compensation.
    Hope this answers your question! 🙂 Ellen

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