Teva uses social media to promote their research challenge

The pharmaceutical industry has been slow to adopt social media marketing, so it is always exciting for me to find a little gem that is different from what has been typically done in pharma in the past.  Here’s one that I found today that I wanted to share with you.

Teva Pharmaceutical, in association with ALS Association and Huntington’s Disease Society of America, is using a novel approach to launch a challenge to researchers worldwide to help them find a business solution.  The TEVA Challenge aims to find Novel Therapeutic Targets for Disorders of the Central Nervous System.

Today, Teva used their social media channels on Facebook (2,225 followers), Twitter (4,337 followers) and LinkedIn to promote this challenge. See their posts from earlier today, March 27 2018, below;

 

Twitter:

TEVA CNS disorder challenge - twitter

Facebook:

TEVA CNS disorder challenge

Their following on Facebook and Twitter is rather small and it probably consists of a majority of consumers along with a  pharmaceutical professionals within various roles, some of which might be research. However, the odds are good that they might reach their ideal candidate on LinkedIn.  Not only is LinkedIn focused on professionals, but Teva has a large following on this network.  With 106 ‘likes’ within 11 hours, the word is going to spread.

 

LinkedIn:

TEVA CNS disorder challenge linkedin

Social media has made it easier to reach and communicate with others around the world.  There is no doubt that Teva Pharmaceutical is searching for a pin in a haystack, but if they are successful in finding the right person, it will have all been worth it, because that person just might give them the answer that they need.  If they do not find the person, they have made some noise about themselves and their desire to do research and innovate.  The latter is not what Teva is hoping for, but my point is that there are no negatives in the method for searching for the right person.

Whether or not they find their ideal target via social media, this is definitely a novel way of reaching out to find a potential partner to help them achieve their business objectives.  Way to go Teva Pharmaceutical for opening up this dialogue with your networks.

For more details on the Teva challenge, go here.  Good luck to all who apply.

Facebook and Twitter to Make Ads Visible to the Public – Impact on Healthcare and Pharma

Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Twitter will soon be making ads visible to anybody who wants to see them.  Yes, anybody!  Patients, healthcare providers, competitors and advertising regulatory bodies.

This new ad transparency on social media is a result of the Russian ads that were placed on social media during the last American election. Tisk tisk!

Up until now, you saw ads on social media that were targeted to you based on the advertisers’ filters when placing the ad.  But very soon, you will be able to actively search and find ads by specific users with just a click of a button.  This is both exciting and unnerving for advertisers in all industries, including the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

What are the social networks doing to make advertising more transparent?

Facebook, Messenger and Instagram will be starting this process near the end of 2017 in Canada first and then will roll out to the United States by July 2018.  There will be a “View Ads” button to click on a Page to view the ads that the Page is currently running.  As such, all ads will need to be associated with a Page

Twitter will work a bit differently.  There will be an Advertising Transparency Center that will become public in the coming weeks.  From here, you will have access to the following information:

  • All ads that are currently running on Twitter
  • Amount of time that the ads have been running
  • Ad creative
  • Ads targeted to you, as well as personalized information on which ads you are eligible to receive based on targeting

Viewers of the ads on any of these platforms will be able to give immediate feedback and report ads.

So how will this impact social media advertisers within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries?

    • Transparency means that people can see everything, so expect exactly that!  Expect competitors to come snooping around more often to see what you are advertising.  As you will probably use this as an opportunity to do more thorough competitive advertising reviews as well, right?

 

    • In the past, we could only estimate how much a competitor was advertising on social media.  But now we will have access to all the details.  If one realizes that competitors are way more active than what was previously thought, it is possible that we will see a surge in advertising by others, especially if their strategic objective is to target the users of a specific competitive brand.  However, I don’t anticipate this to happen for the Canadian pharmaceutical industry because of the restrictions in direct-to-consumer advertising.  In Canada, it will really still just be the market leaders who will benefit the most from these types of ads.  But in the United States, it is a possibility.

 

    • Expect more feedback and possibly reporting of your ads by either consumers or competitors.  Hopefully you will get positive feedback, but beware, because even your test ads will be visible now.  In speaking with Ad Standards (the organization that reviews Canadian consumer advertising for prescription drugs, OTC, medical devices, natural health products and very soon vaccines as well), they do not expect any significant changes to the number or type of complaints that they usually receive either from consumers or competitors.  Personally, I’m not so sure about that.  Some competitors are fierce about trying to stop advertising by others, but we all know that that usually ends up biting them right back in the you-know-what.  But we all know that some will absolutely be taking that chance anyways.

 

    • Speaking of test ads, we may find that advertisers test for shorter periods of time in order to limit the window of opportunity of competitors seeing their draft ads.  We all know that we need to test our ads, but who wants to do that openly?  We won’t have a choice, but I cannot imagine that many of us will be comfortable with that.

 

These are nothing more than guesses, so it will be interesting to review the impact a year from now to see which of these turned out to be correct and which did not.

Competitive review of social media ads:

Call me crazy, but I love finding healthcare-related ads and analyzing their creative and copy, and now I’ll be able to see a bit of their targeting features as well.  Woohoo!!!  I am looking forward to finding new pharmaceutical and healthcare ads on social media and sharing some of them with you so that you can share your thoughts on them.  Below, you will find a few that I spotted during the past few weeks on Facebook.  Enjoy!

If you would like a thorough social media advertising review for a particular therapeutic area or specific competitors, then please contact me at nat@marketing4health.net .  Truth be told, it would be my absolute pleasure to be your eyes and ears on social media!

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Funny Medical and Science Sites on Social Media

If you are like me and enjoy having a good laugh while sometimes learning a little something at the same time, then the following medical and science sites might give you a giggle.  You will find their social media links below so that you can easily follow them if you wish:

  1. Antibotic resistance joke

    Source: Beatrice the Biologist

    Beatrice the Biologist is one of my favorites because her comics are educational and can be used with a target audience (in my case, my children) to lead into great discussions.  Her jokes make the core message very memorable.  You can find her on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

2. The Awkward Yeti, which features, Heart and Brain, is a funny comic strip which sometimes delves into sciences.  It is meant more for leisure than education, so it is a perfect science humor site if you are looking to relax. They can be found on FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit.

3. ZDoggMD features Dr. Zubin Damania, MD.  Dr. Damania produces entertaining videos expressing his frustration with the healthcare system.  These videos would appeal to stressed out healthcare professionals and frustrated patients alike.  You can find ZDoggMD on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

4. And if you are like me and you cannot get enough of Dr. Damania’s videos, then you might also enjoy his Doc Vader persona where he shares his darker humor on FaceBook and Twitter.

5. GomerBlog is self-described as “Earth’s finest medical satire news site”.  They might be right, but you must have the right sense of humor to enjoy their content.  I’ll admit that I am a fan!  You can find them on FaceBook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram and Pinterest.

There are plenty more entertaining medical and science websites out there.  Tell us which is your favorite and we just might include it in a follow-up blog post.

280 Twitter Characters and Canadian Pharma

wersm-twitter-280-characters-657x360

Image from wersm.com

Twitter recently announced that it is testing 280 characters per tweet. That is double what they currently allow. What does this increase in tweeting space mean for the Canadian pharmaceutical industry?

 

 

 

Direct to consumer advertising of prescription products in Canada
In Canada, prescription drugs can only be promoted to healthcare professionals. Direct to consumer (DTC) advertising can only mention a product’s name, quantity and price. The product name cannot be linked to a disease state or promotional messages as this would then be considered advertising, and that would be a problem because it goes against the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) guidelines.

Ray Chepesiuk, the Commissioner of PAAB, had this to say about the new 280 characters:

“If you don’t have the ability to close off the audience so that only healthcare professionals see your tweets, then it’s still a problem because you cannot control your target audience. It’s the same problem with Facebook which has always allowed a lot more characters. You must ensure that only certain groups have access to your promotional information. Once you can isolate an audience, then you must follow section 6 of the PAAB code.”

Just remember that even though the maximum characters in a tweet may be changing, the drug advertising rules are not.

Institutional messages and PR by Canadian pharmaceutical companies

However, if a Canadian pharmaceutical company wants to send information about their organization (ie. charitable donations, community programs, relief missions to send drugs to other countries, a patient drug program, etc…) and still include the product name, it can be done within the guidelines. As long as you do not link therapeutic use and brand, as that would exceed name, price and quantity, you should be OK.

Hashtags make it easier to find your tweet

Another benefit is that having space for additional hashtags could help make your post easier to find. But make sure that post is not considered advertising, and you cannot be sneaky and include promotional hashtags because then you’ll be crossing the line.

Things will be a bit different for the US pharmaceutical industry

The new 280 characters could be a little more exciting for US pharmaceutical advertisers. There, online DTC advertising can reference their brief fair balance summary to somewhere else (ie. in an ad that they published in a magazine or elsewhere). In the US, they can probably use the extra characters to get more message in about their drug and meet their fair balance and legal obligations. This is not an option in Canada.

For a greater analysis of the impact of a longer tweet in the American pharmaceutical industry, please check out Andy Grojean’s article from 2016 “Beyond 140: How Twitter’s 10K Character Limit Could Change the Game for Pharma”.

OTC brands in Canada will benefit

As for DTC advertising of over-the-counter (OTC) products in Canada, there is certainly much greater latitude in the way that they can be promoted. Therefore, the OTC companies are probably pleased about the extra character allocation, because they will be able to be more creative in their use of their extra space.

Overall, the increase in Twitter characters will be slightly beneficial to the Canadian pharmaceutical industry but presents greater opportunities for OTC brands and corporate messages.

What are your thoughts on this?  And are you one of the lucky people who already has access to the 280 characters on Twitter?  I don’t, not yet anyway.  I love reading your comments, so please share what is on your mind.