Pharma social media campaign by Roche Pharma to raise awareness of life with hemophilia via patient-created memes; #Memeophilia. The campaign seems compliant with Health Canada DTC regulations. List of requirements for social media campaign discussed at PAAB workshop are included in this post. This case study is proof that you can be compliant and creative at the same time!
Roche Canada started sponsoring social media ads on Twitter and Facebook in November 2019. I saw their ad for the first time in my Twitter feed just this week, about 2-3 weeks after their campaign launch. The Roche Canada social media ad is promoting a hemophilia campaign, which is asking hemophilia patients to use a provided app to create a meme to give people an idea of what it’s like living with hemophilia or what it’s like communicating this to a physician.
Their hashtag spin on this is #memeophilia . There hasn’t been much uptake on it yet, but that might be because it’s still a very new campaign. My take on this pharma social media campaign is that Roche Canada is trying to raise awareness of the disease in a trendy fashion to capture their patient group’s attention.
Pharma social media ads: ReDefine Hemophilia
Here is the Twitter ad that I saw on my newsfeed. I am certain there are other versions but I have not seen them yet:
Here are the Roche Canada pharma social media ads on Facebook. The Facebook campaign information is described as follows: “A campaign to bring the community together, spark a conversation, and redefine what it’s like living with hemophilia A.” There are multiple variations of the ad sets. Each that were available at the time of publishing this blog post are shown below. The content that will be created by the target audience via this campaign will most likely be quite useful to Roche Canada for a follow-up campaign.
For the moment, I could not find ReDefine Hemophilia on other social platforms. They might be there and I just haven’t found them, or perhaps they will come at a later time if deemed strategically aligned with objectives and within budget limitations.
Pharma social media in Canada – Tricky!
In Canada, pharmaceutical marketers must abide by the Health Canada regulations which state that for all direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of pharmaceutical products, only the following can be mentioned;
- Product name
- Product price
- Product quantity
To follow the DTC regulations in Canada, we cannot mention the indication of the product in conjunction with the product name. Therefore, since the entire campaign is focused on the disease itself, hemophilia, Roche Canada must steer clear from any brand name mentions if they don’t want to get in trouble with Health Canada. This applies not only to the content created and published by Roche Canada or their agency, but also to any comments included on their social platforms by those who visit their social platforms. This will require constant monitoring to ensure that no comment mentioning product names (either Roche Canada’s product or a competitive product) are included. They must be removed to stay within Health Canada’s DTC regulations.
Here are some tips that the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) offered at their November 2019 workshop regarding the use of non-promotional information on social media:
In order to follow Health Canada’s DTC regulations, pharma can only use social media if it is non-promotional. Here are the criteria that you need to meet to be non-promotional (Source: PAAB November 2019 workshop):
1) unbranded account
2) user-generated comments do not focus on a specific product
3) user “sharing” does not modify context by which the content was disseminated
4) organization does not engage in discussions, only monitors (no liking, no retweeting)
Roche Canada is right on track with the Health Canada DTC regulations as their social media policy clearly states that product mentions should not be included on the ReDefine Hemophilia social platforms. They provide options where such product-related discussions should be addressed depending on the type of inquiry. They quickly follow this up with a statement that on sites managed by Roche Canada, any comment regarding products, including competitors’ products, will be removed:
Roche Canada must follow strict regulations that govern our industry and the way we talk about our products. What this means is that our social media channels are not the appropriate place to report side effects, to make complaints or suggestions, or to share experiences about the use of our products or patient assistance programs. This does not mean we do not want to hear about these issues, but these types of concerns are best handled by trained representatives … Please note that on Roche Canada-controlled social media pages, we will remove product-related posts where possible, including posts about others’ products.
Social media links for ReDefine Hemophilia
Disclosure: Note that I was not involved in the development of this site or campaign. I am featuring it simply because I was impressed when I saw it and I hope that it will inspire other pharmaceutical companies to delve into digital marketing as well.