Rare is the company that can put together an effective tongue-in-cheek ad in response to a Facebook page jibe and gain a huge amount of positive social media chatter in the process. But that’s what Swedish company SCA did for its feminine hygiene brand Bodyform in a spoof ad that now has more than 1 million hits on YouTube. It has about 90,000 people talking about the brand on its Facebook page.
Is there anything to be gleaned from this video by the notoriously risk-averse healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors?
For those unfamiliar with the hoopla, have a look:
CMI Media vice president of strategic marketing and corporate communications Carly Kuper, who liked the video, says yes they can, particularly in a new order that aspires to deliver patient-centered care. She spoke to MedCity News in a phone interview.
“It reflects positively because having periods suck and we women know that and the only upside is we all as women go through this together. … That aspect really can work for healthcare and for pharma because whenever you can personalize the patient and connect with them on a level where they understand you and you understand them, that raises it to a new level from a marketing piece to a value piece.”
The idea of pharmaceutical companies using humor to reach their audience is not alien. Belgian biopharmaceutical company UCB has a Crohn’s and Me website that includes comedian Ben Morrison, who has the disease.
As an instructive, in-house exercise, Kuper recommended that pharmaceutical marketers do a comedy routine around their patient population. It would give them the opportunity to explore the pain their customers go through with their condition since, as Kuper put it, “You can’t have laughter without some pain, and it would help them understand patients better.”
On the other hand, she acknowledged that it’s a good idea for pharmaceutical companies to stay well away from parodies since they have such a high potential to insult or embarrass. “I don’t think we are brave enough to do parodies.” She pointed out that it’s one thing for members of a patient population that have been coping with a chronic illness for years, like Morrison. “But on the other hand, you could have members of a patient population who are still coming to grips with their disease.”