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October 10, 2017 0

In mid-September, DTC Perspectives spoke with Alisa Lask, the VP and General Manager of Aesthetic & Corrective Business Unit from Galderma, about the evolution of their digital marketing. “Digital has had a really powerful impact on the aesthetics brands,” she noted. Galderma’s aesthetics business unit is already seeing a large usage of their various digital assets, from materials at the point of care to their digital-only ASPIRE loyalty program. Another digital victory for the company is their Facebook Restylane® page, which after launching just a few months ago, is already outperforming competitors in the space.

Lask shared that, over the past few years, another evolution they have witnessed is how many Health Care Professionals (HCPs) are now using social media and how much they are using it. Utilizing a variety of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, HCPs are interacting both with Galderma and with patients. This uncovered a big opportunity for Galderma to invest in digital to create their own assets for their partnering HCPs, many of whom have around 10,000-15,000 patients in their databases on average. These materials not only educated the HCPs, but allowed those HCPs to share them with their staff and consumers in the office or waiting room as well.

Innovations to set a new standard

Galderma wanted to make the most of the opportunities digital affords, making one of their approaches an innovative use of video. Aesthetics products, such as Restylane®, lend themselves quite well to digital media. As the industry transitions away from still Before & After photos, Lask explained they created videos that would showcase the natural results of their treatments. “When we launched our two new products, Restylane® Refyne and Restylane® Defyne, earlier this year, the whole philosophy behind those products was that they were designed to be flexible  in animation and in expression in motion for natural-looking results.”

When sending out their first product samples to HCP offices, a video would play when the box was opened, with four different videos being included in each one. With people clamoring to obtain the sample boxes so they could view and share the videos, Galderma took their marketing to another level: text message video. If an individual, HCP or consumer, texted certain phrases to a designated number, they would receive four to five corresponding videos. Of the videos offering through the sample boxes and text message, Galderma developed real Before & After footage, digital animation of the mechanism in action, and the background and science of the XpresHAn™ technology. (XpresHAn™ is derived from the three components it comprises: X = Crosslinking; pres = Pressing gels through mesh for calibration; and HA = Hyaluronic Acid.)

Another innovative approach the aesthetics teams took was through their ASPIRE loyalty program, which is 100% digital communications. Consumers can receive educational emails, digital coupons towards products, and sweepstake offers electronically. Meanwhile, doctors can log onto a special portal within ASPIRE to obtain Galderma assets, find out which of their patients have redeemed Galderma offers or promotions, or track which of their patients may have lapsed in their treatment so they can provide necessary follow ups. Taking a digital only approach has not had a negative impact – Galderma’s response rates are just as good, if not better, according to Lask.

With an obvious expected increase in spending in digital and social media in the future, she said, “Having a social and digital strategy is status quo. I think the real focus is more on how digital and social are going to change, so we have to evolve our spending and budget.” With the challenge being adjusting investments, Lask added, “we all have to learn how to be a lot more nimble so we’re allowed to pivot quickly as the digital and social channels change.”

Ensuring relevance

Infographic shared with consumers, depicting the ‘Natural Expression in Motion’ theme.

Historically, pharma has often lagged behind other industries when incorporating digital or social media into their marketing due to a lack of clear FDA guidance. “There is no doubt that digital is changing faster than any of these regulations can keep up,” Lask noted, so they make sure to partner closely with their legal and regulatory teams from start and every step along the way. Consumers expect brands today to be “honest and candid, but [also] relevant to them.” Balancing such expectations with “the very important fact that we want safe and effective usage of our products … can be challenging and we’re learning as we go in many instances,” she said. Thus, they make sure their assets center on the important safety information, but present it in a consumerized way that people find engaging.

Lask stressed the importance of relevance when developing their educational and branded efforts: “We make sure first that it is relevant for the consumer. There is just so much noise out there, and if we are creating irrelevant material, you can almost guarantee that it is going to be skipped or not used. Then we put our focus on, what is the brand’s essence of our Galderma aesthetic product? It goes back to being honest, candid, and really being true to what we stand for.”

Galderma’s aesthetics brands employ both educational and branded tactics, depending on what is more appropriate at the time. “It’s a combination between education and branded marketing; we feel like you can’t do one without the other,” she said. With these treatments being elective, getting patients to be inspired by outcomes and addressing their primary concern – looking natural – is step one, she explained. Here, educational marketing leads the way. Branded marketing comes into play next to ensure the patient chooses their products, not a competitor’s.

Looking ahead

When preparing future plans, Lask has spotlighted three strategic areas, each one connected in a different way to improving access to education and information. One of the first things Galderma is keeping an eye on are websites such as Yelp or HCP reviews – anywhere that consumers can get engaged with how they find HCPs. She explained that, in the aesthetics market, those are very important to how consumers can figure out where they go for a treatment. Another area of watch for the team is around platforms such as, which is a community-driven website providing information and research, reviews, and rankings for aesthetic medicines and cosmetic treatments. Lask likened it to the Trip Advisory of aesthetics.

The last key concentration is around retail pop up clinics, she said. It is empowering for consumers to have such access to information and freedom from scheduling appointments. But as a marketer, it provides other challenges – primarily, how do marketers find these places and then also ensure consumers are receiving their materials and relevant messages? Another barrier Lask found is that many of these retail pop up clinics, which are often owned by large corporations now, don’t usually want company branding or materials. She identifies this as a problem that will need to be solved in the future: “how to make sure that we’re able to touch the consumer in those offices as well?”

“The landscape is always changing, but that’s what is fun and exciting about it,” she stated. With more than two million women using aesthetic products currently and another 15 – 20 million more in the US alone who are interested in them, Lask said it is educating and providing them with information so they “really understand outcomes, what they can look like, and what’s possible.”


Jennifer Kovack

August 25, 2016 1

JenniferAniston-ShireShire and Digitas Health LifeBrands (the agency of record) announced a new celebrity spokesperson today, partnering with Jennifer Aniston to raise awareness and understanding of chronic dry eye. By sharing her own experiences with the condition, she hopes to “educate and inspire people” to learn and communicate more with their healthcare professional. According to the news release, the educational awareness campaign, eyelove, is “inspired by the wonderful things we can do and see because of our eyes.” As part of the campaign, NYC’s High Line will host an “eyelove art project” in October, encouraging visitors to share their own stories and “[create] a unique artistic image of their eye via a customized photo capture. The photo will then be projected onto a large screen, showcasing each person’s one-of-a-kind eyelove art. Participants have the option to share their eyelove art via social media channels. People can also visit to create their own art.”

Another component to the campaign are two unbranded television ads – one with and one without Jennifer Aniston. The ad with their celebrity spokeswoman showcases the actress discussing her own experience with dry eye before she “finally decided to show [her] eyes some love”, followed by a female voice over suggesting consumers talk with their doctors. The non-celebrity TV ad focuses on three different women, each enjoying their favorite activity, or, “the things [they] love to do with their eyes”, as a female voice over states before urging consumers to talk to their doctors.

Click here to read more about Jennifer Aniston’s partnership with Shire’s disease education launch campaign.

Jennifer Kovack

June 22, 2016 0

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has joined the American Medical Association (AMA) in calling for a ban on DTC advertising. Announced during an annual meeting of the ASHP House of Delegates during their Summer Meetings and Exhibition last week, the national pharmacist group approved a new policy calling on Congress to ban all DTC advertising. This action demonstrates a move away from their previous policy – which was first adopted in 1997 and repeatedly refined over the years – that opposed DTC ads unless they met certain criteria.

The organization cited a 2002 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which stated that “pharmaceutical companies have increased spending on DTC advertising more rapidly than they have increased spending on research and development … DTC advertising appears to increase drug spending and utilization.” ASHP also opined that despite FDA regulation being “generally effective” over DTC, their “oversight has not prevented the dissemination of misleading advertising by some pharmaceutical companies.” ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP, stated via the news release, “ASHP believes that medication education provided by pharmacists and other providers as part of a provider-patient relationship is a much more effective way to make patients aware of available therapies, rather than relying on direct-to-consumer advertising.”

While this is just the latest news to put DTC in the crosshairs once again, instituting a ban would ultimately harm knowledge sharing and patient empowerment. DTC not only creates awareness, it also helps educate consumers with accurate information, leading to better doctor discussions, decision-making, and, ultimately, patient outcomes.

Jennifer Kovack

March 30, 2016 0

home theater

The significant majority of pharma budgets are often spent on TV media due to its wide reach and being a great starting connection with consumers.

In a recent study by TiVo, which was not pharma specific but rather covered a broader TV industry perspective, found that reducing TV ad spend led to a loss in ROI for 11 of 15 brands studied. Conducted in partnership with consultancy engagement firm 84.51° (a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co.), TiVo research discovered that “for every dollar decline in ad spend, the 11 brands lost 3x that amount in return.” The white paper was sponsored by media companies such as A+E Networks and Turner.

To read more about the TiVo report, “Independent Study Confirms That Decreased TV Advertising Spend Hurts Sales,” click here.

Jennifer Kovack

May 28, 2015

More than 500 DTC marketing industry executives convened at the 15th annual DTC National Conference this past April to learn more about what patients want – and how they, as marketers, can best serve those wants and needs.

The overarching theme of the 2015 event was clear: working with the new patient. Kicking things off was health economist and advisor, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, whose presentation on the new health ecosystem provided a well-rounded layout for the rest of the agenda. Noting that more engaged patients cost the healthcare system less in the long-run, she explained that doctor-patient conversations about costs are shifting from “what a medication costs” to “what health it provides”; consumers are willing to pay more for something they deem to be worth it.

This added value can come in many forms – including a personalized experience. Sarasohn-Kahn cited data from a Makovsky/Kelton survey which found that 88% of patients are willing to share personal information about their health to improve their care and treatment options while 66% are also willing to use mobile apps to manage their health. While consumers want to hear from “someone like them” when researching health information or seeking support, they do also want pharma companies to be actively involved as well. But patients aren’t just looking for incentives – they want help in managing their health. One way pharma can get involved while simultaneously gaining trust among consumers is to partner with another company. For example, she suggested looking at the recent joint venture between Cox Communications, a broadband communications and entertainment company, and the Cleveland Clinic for inspiration. Forming Vivre Health, the alliance created by the two companies will bring telehealth to the home. In the value-focused ecosystem, marketers need to think beyond the medicine explicitly and turn focus to where they can provide complementary inputs to health and the healthcare journey, she concluded.

Authentic involvement
Another way pharma can get involved authentically, noted Howard Courtemanche, is to help fill information and support gaps created by the insufficient amount of time patients have with their doctors. [Pharmacists also help fill such voids. For more details about the Health Renaissance in the Pharmacy presentation by Cathy Paulson of Walgreens and Jim O’Dea of Rx EDGE Pharmacy Networks, turn to page X to read the article they co-authored based on their speech.] Courtemanche, the Global CEO of J. Walter Thompson Health / J. Walter Thompson New York, explained during an agency expert panel that there is a real opportunity for brands to step in and provide necessary information as well as support to help patients better comprehend materials and adhere to treatment regimens. “We need to think of content differently – as a continuum,” Alex Jutkowitz, GroupSJR’s Mananging Partner, advised during the panel session. He explained that patients fuel insights which creates content that informs / educates / supports patients. By thinking of this as a cycle, a brand’s messaging will evolve and continually provide the patient or consumer with what they want or need, he elaborated.

During the discussion with four top-level agency executives, Eric Weisberg, Creative Director at JWT, also encouraged marketers to break out from their conservative mindset to explore new ways of connecting brands and patients. Jim Radosevic, NY President with Y&R, dovetailed on that idea by pointing out the emerging innovations and technologies, in the point-of-care space as well as other channels, which are creating new ways to deliver messages. By understanding how target consumers interact with the different media, Radosevic detailed, marketers can talk with consumers “in a really relevant way that resonates.”

Humanizing the connection
One tactic that appeals greatly is providing a human connection. Drawing from Remedy Health Media research, the company’s Chief Strategy Officer, Jim Curtis, along with agency partner, Andrea Palmer, SVP of Publicis Health Media, noted that emotional storytelling can affect one’s state of mind, which is “the most powerful tool for engagement and positive health actions.” According to study data, 72% of respondents became hopeful when they were presented with an inspirational stimulus and realized they could do better; 84% took action as a result of that inspirational stimulus. Having a clear understanding of the patient’s state of mind, developing a disruptive catalyst to evoke emotion or motivate, and knowing the right moment to share the inspiration elicits hope and creates a connection that will drive consumers to make more, healthy actions, Curtis explained.

Also echoing the value of humanizing the message through patient stories were panelists from The Future of Technology and DTC discussion, moderated by Ashik Desai, Executive Vice President of Business Growth & Analytics for ContextMedia. Panelist and CEO of Health Perspectives Group, Cheryl Lubbert, remarked that patient stories are “a great way to remember complex information.” Acknowledging how multifaceted healthcare is, Lubbert recommended co-creating content with consumers; this will ensure that the information is put together in ways that truly matter to them.

And while consumers also want something that will aid in their healthcare management, “the use of ‘utility’ [opens] a new marketing channel for brands,” predicted Eugen Lee, Executive Vice President, Managing Director at Communications Media, Inc. Marketers shouldn’t fear things like apps or other emerging telehealth capabilities. Ben Putman, the SVP of Innovation for JUICE Pharma Worldwide, noted that tactics available now, such as pretotyping, to explore concepts. Putman explained that pretotyping is like prototyping, but for testing ideas. (His team was able to test four apps in two days by utilizing this approach.) Desai wrapped up the session by encouraging marketers to change how they think when posed with significant challenges. As Courtemanche stated during his panel, “we have the opportunity to become brands of the future.”

TV Optimization
With television still commanding the lion’s share of DTC spend, it is still the best way to reach a large audience quickly. With advancements in metrics, marketers’ investments can be further optimized in this media channel. As explained by Jeremy Mittler and John Stermer, planning is moving beyond demographics and geotargeting to utilize predictive Rx and OTC treatment data. Mittler, VP Analytics Services with Crossix Solutions, and Stermer, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS), shared NCS data from Q4 2014 that found “nearly $63 million [was] spent on low-preforming inventory.” Using a blinded case study from Q2 2014, Mittler and Stermer revealed that a previously under-performing campaign implemented predictive treatment data to identify networks, programs, and day parts that would index most favorably for reaching their targeted audience. By improving the campaign’s qualified audience index, it allowed for increased efficiency and reduction of media waste. This led to the rising of the brand’s qualified index for both its broadcast (+18.5%) and cable (+22.5%) inventory. In general, the co-presenters explained, “by leveraging this audience data to buy media more efficiently, healthcare brands are observing 5%-15% in TV-driven incremental sales improvement.”

Jennifer Kovack