On Friday, September 23rd, the life sciences industry was treated to one hell of a night. Emmy-award winning actress, writer, and comedian Judy Gold, who served as the emcee, had the audience cracking up at her sharp insights and slight jabs at some of the most current pharma campaigns on the market. But she also helped rein in the audience when the time was right and reminded them that the night was also about respecting the finalists and winners being honored. That was especially true of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Douglas G. Watson, Chairman of OraSure Technologies Inc. and former President & CEO of Novartis Corporation, the U.S. subsidiary of Novartis AG, who was responsible for several first-of-their-kind, patient-centric programs back in the ’80s and ’90s.
The rest of this year’s winners are aiming to emulate what Doug did back then, even if they aren’t aware of it, as patient centricity continues to be one of the industry’s top priorities. That made for a difficult task for our judges—a cross section of industry experts from our Editorial Board. They had to choose from an incredible amount of worthy submissions—the most we’ve ever received—that displayed extraordinary innovative thinking in terms of finding new ways to engage with healthcare stakeholders and improve patient outcomes.
They also were responsible for choosing our first-ever Marketing Team of the Year winner. This award was established to recognize a team that reaches across various functions to achieve exceptional results. And while outstanding marketing practices are a part of that, other areas of consideration included the ability to adopt new and innovative technologies/strategies; successfully positioning a brand/company; creating an outstanding customer experience; and positively impacting the culture of an organization. The recipient of the award, the APTIOM Marketing Team from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., ended up checking each one of these boxes—a truly impressive feat.
Once again, we awarded both a Gold and Silver winner in each of our five Company of the Year categories. The big winners include Amgen, the Gold Pharma Company; Baxter, the Gold Medical Device/Diagnostics Company; and Shire, the Gold Specialty Pharma Company. Each of those companies demonstrated overwhelming strength in the three areas we evaluate: Innovation, talent development/retention, and social/corporate responsibility.
Of course, our annual Trailblazer Awards Gala is about so much more than who wins. Ultimately, it is quite simply the industry’s party of the year. While the night kicked off with laughter, Gotham Hall was shaking all night with applause followed by music as our DJ kept the tunes going until midnight. It is truly a celebration not to be missed, so start preparing your submissions for next year. Maybe even some of this year’s winners will provide the inspiration to get your there.
At UCB, patient-value focus is not just something people say. In the words of CMO Bharat Tewarie, “It is how we work and who we are. Everything we do starts with one simple question: How will this create value for people living with severe diseases?”
To start, UCB has organized its business, not by function, but by the patient value they want to create. UCB has patient value teams in each of its major therapeutic areas, ensuring solutions are developed as close as possible to the patient. In addition, UCB has implemented the Individual Patient Engagement Framework, enabling its employees to compliantly interact with patients throughout the development of solutions.
Today, UCB’s portfolio has a successful global reach that spans 40 countries, and impacts approximately 1.9 million people around the world. It includes products for epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and Crohn’s disease. In February, the FDA approved a new epilepsy treatment for patients with partial-onset seizures. In April, UCB unveiled Phase III results of a product which boosts bone mineral density in certain postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Other UCB products in clinical stage development are aligned with the company’s expertise in the fields of neurology and autoimmune diseases.
In addition to a successful drug portfolio, UCB is dedicated to finding ways to help patients beyond medication, such as through devices, patient summits, online support communities, and patient and caregiver scholarships. Successful non-drug solutions rely on a strong commitment to partnering with patients from day one, as well as a mindset for piloting, testing, and learning quickly. UCB is committed to bringing these innovative solutions to patients around the world, leveraging collaboration with international organizations.
Staying on the leading edge of innovative patient solutions requires a strong focus on talent development. UCB has more than 7,500 employees representing 68 nationalities. Additionally, internal initiatives such as the Women in Leadership (WiL) help deliver against UCB’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
UCB is also committed to corporate societal responsibility, citing patients and planet at the heart. To support its various initiatives, the company established the UCB Societal Responsibility Fund, which focuses on improving the quality of life for people living with epilepsy in developing countries.
To learn more about UCB, visit www.ucb.com.
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing, and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools such as advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world, and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.
Among many 2016 accolades, Amgen was included again on the Fortune “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, recognized as one of Fast Company’s “50 Most Innovative Companies,” named among Business Insider’s “50 Best Companies,” and earned placement on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) World Index and North American Index.
In late 2014 and 2015, Amgen achieved an unprecedented number of drug approvals, including Repatha® (evolocumab), Corlanor® (ivabradine), BLINCYTO® (blinatumomab), and the Neulasta® OnPro® kit.
Amgen’s mission is to attract, develop, and retain an engaged, diverse workforce by: 1) offering numerous groups and networks that engage employees, and provide an inclusive culture, 2) integrate diversity into its employment and talent development practices, and 3) offering mentorship, developmental opportunities, and workshops.
The Amgen Foundation was established in 1991 as an integral component of Amgen’s commitment to dramatically improve people’s lives. Today, the Foundation advances excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. Its science education programs provide more than two million students hands-on experiences, and supports teachers with effective professional development.
Through the Amgen Safety Net Foundation, Amgen helps qualifying patients in the U.S. gain access to all commercially available Amgen therapies at no cost.
Amgen is committed to environmental sustainability through continuous improvement of operations, evaluating renewable and alternative energy technology options, and accelerating water conservation efforts.
Celsee Diagnostics is a small, innovative company that is transforming cancer research and diagnostics in the emerging liquid-biopsy field. The Michigan-based company is armed with an entrepreneurial spirit as its 11 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees and contractors work to revolutionize cancer detection by offering a less painful and intrusive method than traditional biopsies. They use fully automated systems that can detect circulating tumor cells (CTC), such as prostate, breast, and colon CTCs, through blood samples. These automated systems for rare CTC enrichment and single-cell analysis, will allow healthcare professionals more time to focus on their patients’ therapeutic treatment and outcomes. The company’s work has been racking up awards.
- Most recently, the company was named a 2016 Red Herring Top 100 North America winner, which recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs and promising privately financed companies from a pool of about 1,200.
- In 2015, Celsee Diagnostics’ Celsee PREP400 and Celsee ANALYZER were named winners in The Scientist’s Top 10 Innovations competition.
- Celsee PREP400 was the next iteration after Celsee PREP100, which is designed especially for the cancer research environment. Researchers are able to customize experiments on isolated CTCs allowing single-cell analysis, reducing the time for discovery. The Celsee PREP400 automates all processing steps allowing laboratory personnel the ability to load test samples and walk away—sample-to-result processing on a single platform.
- Celsee ANALYZER is intended for use with prepared microfluidic slides from the Celsee PREP100 or Celsee PREP400 platforms. The imager automatically scans eight slides capturing images of isolated CTCs, which allows the ability to rapidly review cells of interest as each CTC is identified, imaged, and location cataloged.
Talent Development and Social Responsibility
- Celsee Diagnostics was recognized as one of the 2016 “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch,” an awards program presented by Michigan Celebrates Small Business. Not only does this acknowledge the company’s growth, but it also recognizes its impact on its local community. All of the companies honored played a significant role in growing Michigan’s economy and creating jobs.
- The company made several new additions to its team in 2016 to help accelerate its growth. An executive hire included Grant Howes as Vice President, Commercial Operations, and operational staff was hired to meet manufacturing demand. The company plans to build out the marketing, sales, and customer support teams before year end.
Baxter has a long history of innovation in healthcare. They also have a history in being named the PM360 Trailblazer Medical Device Company of the Year—previously earning that title in 2010. But this is a company that just doesn’t stop innovating. Since the 1930s, Baxter has been responsible for many industry firsts such as the first commercially manufactured intravenous (IV) solutions as well as the first portable kidney dialysis machine. Today, Baxter continues that tradition in meeting the healthcare needs of patients around the world, and is now solely focused on two global business units (Hospital Products and Renal) following the 2015 spinoff of its bioscience business (Baxalta). It also maintains a strong company culture dedicated to patients and a desire to make a difference beyond just the products it develops.
- One of the many innovative new products Baxter launched in 2015 was its next-generation Sigma Spectrum Infusion System, designed with innovative features to help enhance patient safety and clinician efficiency. These features include intuitive drug library navigation, allowing clinicians to choose from a curated list of medications and fluids within medically appropriate dose ranges that help identify potential programming mistakes before they reach the patient.
- Another is the AMIA automated peritoneal dialysis (APD) system, which builds on Baxter’s leadership in home dialysis therapy. AMIA incorporates patient-centric features such as voice guidance, touchscreen controls, and SHARESOURCE, Baxter’s two-way, cloud-based telehealth platform. SHARESOURCE allows healthcare providers to securely view dialysis-related treatment data and act on this information by remotely adjusting their patients’ home device settings.
- Baxter was recently named among one of the 100 companies on the newly established Diversity & Inclusion Index and Ratings from Thomson Reuters. Additionally in 2016, Baxter received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Corporate Equality Index.
- In 2015, the company was named a Top 50 Employer by Workforce Diversity for Engineering and IT Professionals Magazine; one of Forbes’ Best Employers; and a Military Friendly Employer from Victory Media.
- The Baxter International Foundation supports initiatives and organizations that make an impact on increasing access to healthcare for the disadvantaged and underserved. Its latest project is “Driving Your Health” (Manejando tu Salud), a mobile health program that deploys medical teams to communities in Mexico City with limited access to health services.
- In 2015, about 5,200 employees contributed 92,000 hours of volunteerism in 35 countries.
- For the 17th consecutive year, Baxter was recognized in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index—among the most prestigious global benchmarks for corporate responsibility and sustainability. Baxter is one of only a few companies to be included in the Index each year since its founding in 1999.
Concentric Health Experience broke records left and right in 2015. The agency had a 65% increase in staff to 226 employees and won a remarkable 75% of new-business pitches (9 out of 12 pitched). At the same time, the agency deployed 13 integrated creative campaigns and launched four brands. Additionally, the agency had a healthy organic growth rate of 38%, 5 of 7 legacy clients expanded or deepened their relationship with Concentric, and the agency was awarded four new accounts based on stellar performance within existing brands. So far, 2016 looks to be more of the same as the agency has won 6 of 7 new business pitches since the start of the year. A lot of that success can be attributed to how Concentric excels in these three areas.
- Concentric Health Group consists of three integrated areas of excellence: Concentric-Hx, the brand-building and communications arm; Concentric Health Intelligence, the strategic insight and research arm; and Radius-Hx, the engagement team within Concentric that was created in 2015 to extend the agency’s “common-center” strategy in which the focus is on understanding the core value proposition for all key stakeholders.
- In 2015, research capabilities were expanded with Concentric Health Intelligence and Circle Labs, a new partnership with Y Media Labs, which resulted in a best-in-class, “mobile-first” tablet solution for a major brand.
- The agency also underwent a creative renaissance in 2015, which included realigning the creative services team and creating a design-focused vertical that resulted in 15 creative awards globally and the incorporation of cutting-edge animation and technologies like Google Cardboard.
- Concentric maintains an impressive 88% employee retention rate thanks to a dedication to culture, developing internal talent, and providing a clear path for growth.
- To prepare for significant and sustained growth in 2016, the agency strengthened their leadership with 30 managerial hires in 2015 and solidified key capabilities, departments, and offices.
- The agency has an established series of wide-ranging philanthropic initiatives labeled “The Health Fix” (thehealthfix.org), designed to help fix health experiences both here and abroad. The most recent is the e-NABLE Community Foundation, an organization using 3D printing technology to provide prosthetic devices to children who need them, at little to no cost.
- The agency also supported several causes in 2015, including Together We Can; Uber/City Harvest Food Drive; Melanoma Research Walk; MS Bike Ride Team Bike Event; and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Central Park Walk.
In the 35 years since its doors first opened, AbelsonTaylor hasn’t spent a lot of time speculating about what might happen. Instead, the company is far more concerned with identifying the things that are already changing the industry and then finding a way to harness it. That is what truly innovative companies do and it is how the agency has stayed on the cutting edge of marketing for all of these years. AbelsonTaylor’s other strength is its company culture, which truly impressed one of our judges who said, “AbelsonTaylor has a unique approach to supporting and involving their employees in all they do while also creating a very supportive, fun, and rewarding environment. Who wouldn’t want to work where they have ice cream socials, pizza days, morning breakfasts, and afternoon snacks?” It is an agency that truly does it all.
- Last fall, the agency established a division called the Experience Design (EXD) Group focused on finding innovative ways to break through the marketing noise by integrating technology, analytics, and digital. EXD’s integration into campaigns has led to award-winning programs such as UltraShape, Daliresp, and Pulmicort.
- Recently collaborated with HCB Health, JUICE Pharma, and MIT Med Hack at the 23rd annual SXSW Interactive Festival on a three-day workshop dedicated to executing a “hacking med” process to uncover new ways of managing chronic health conditions.
- Offers a comprehensive long-term care policy, so that eligible employees will eventually no longer have to worry about their long-term care. Additionally, last year the agency added five new benefits, including: Critical illness/cancer benefit for employees diagnosed with a serious medical condition, discounted pet insurance, and a healthcare concierge to make the decision-making process easier.
- Last year, held a Wellness Screening Fair that included free massages, local food fares, and health information from dietitians and health professionals. The agency also launched the “Beat the CFO Challenge,” challenging participants to log in their steps on a weekly basis with each month’s winner treated to dinner with the CFO over a healthy meal.
- Choose an Employee of the Year and donate a large sum to their favorite charity.
- Last year, more than 50% of employees volunteered for the agency’s social responsibility program, HeartsATWork, to help out with 14 nonprofit organizations.
- Often crowd-source the creative (e.g., posters, T-shirt designs, naming) for the agency’s charity work, which employees, clients, and peers all enjoy. In 2015, engagement online as a result of the agency’s giving-back program increased by more than 30%.
In only its 11th year in existence, four company acquisitions under its belt and full-year 2015 net sales increase of 155% from 2014, Horizon Pharma sets a high bar for what a successful pharma company looks like. Not only does it shine in the three areas of innovation, talent development, and social responsibility, but as its 2015 growth indicates it has the potential for continued growth via its diverse commercial business and clinical development program. It has also proven to be a company that embraces innovation, making it a major contributor to its local economy. Horizon’s achievements and the role that it plays within its community have earned a place as a PM360 Trailblazer.
- In 2016, Horizon made progress in its late-stage clinical portfolio submitting a New Drug Application for RAVICTI, a treatment of Urea Cycle Disorders, and completing target enrollment for the Phase III trial of ACTIMMUNE for Friedreich’s ataxia.
- In October 2014, DUEXIS was selected as a winner of the 13th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards, being the “first-of-its-kind pharma product that combined prescription-strength ibuprofen with high-dose famotidine,” designed to treat pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Horizon is committed to workplace diversity. For example, Horizon has established formal programs that support professional development for women, and ensures that LGBT employees receive the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.
- Horizon was selected as one of Chicago Tribune’s Top Workplaces in 2015, and named to Crain’s Chicago Business first-ever 2016 “Best Places to Work for Women over 35” list.
- In 2015, Horizon provided more than $1 billion in patient assistance.
- Horizon sponsors various events including the Immune Deficiency Foundation walks across the United States, the Chicago Innovation Foundation, and a series of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) panels.
- Horizon supports the local community with grants, sponsorships, donations, memberships, volunteering and mentoring, i.e., Women in Bio, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Chicago Council on Science & Technology, GoodCity, Chicago Student Invention Convention, March of Dimes, Habitat for Humanity, Chicago Innovation Awards, Mt. Sinai Hospital, MATTER, Illinois Science & Technology Coalition and After School Matters, St. Jude, Ronald McDonald House, Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science & Industry, UNICEF, Open Books, Red Cross, 1871, and the YWCA.
Shire is a leading global biotechnology company focused on serving people with rare diseases and other highly specialized conditions. The company strives to develop best-in-class products, many of which are available in more than 100 countries, across core therapeutic areas including Hematology, Immunology, Neuroscience, Ophthalmics, Lysosomal Storage Disorders, Gastrointestinal/Internal Medicine/Endocrine, and Hereditary Angioedema, as well as a growing franchise in Oncology.
Lifescript started as a single-product company selling customized vitamin plans back in 1999. But after changing their business model in 2005, they quickly became the largest and most visited website dedicated to Women’s Health. In fact, Lifescript was the first health website dedicated to women and the company continues to focus on empowering women to live their healthiest and most fulfilling lives, each and every day, by connecting them with trusted health experts and their peers, to find and share vital health and wellness tips, tools, and information. Content for the site is developed in partnership with Cedars Sinai Medical Center, which includes more than 90 condition-specific Health Centers addressing all stages of the health journey. Furthermore, Lifescript is more than just a health brand—the site has become a true resource for women as demonstrated by the company’s 1.9 million Facebook followers. No direct competitor has even half of the Facebook following. And few can match the company’s success in the following areas.
- The company’s LifePoints data platform allows it to paint a picture of each person who comes to the site. Rather than look at the audience as just “users” or a “patient,” the technology platform sees everyone as an individual by gathering data points from registration, offers redeemed, and content consumption. This allows Lifescript to guide its audience to the content most useful to bettering their health.
- Named one of 5000’s “Fastest-Growing U.S. Companies” every year from 2008 to 2015.
- Following the massive earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, Lifescript’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Edward Geehr, visited the island several times to treat patients. But during a return trip in early 2014, after hauling medical gear in 98° heat from the tin shack that served as the mobile clinic for that trip, he realized a more permanent solution was needed. With funding from Lifescript, and led by Dr. Geehr, a plan was put in place to construct Klinik Tout Bel Pouvwa. This two-and-a-half acre walled medical site is shared with an orphanage caring for 52 children in remote, southwestern Haiti. With a full-time nurse on site, 10 to 15 volunteers, and leading physicians flying in to provide care, the clinic is now implementing tele-medicine capabilities to better serve the needs of the community. The plan is to implement real-time sharing of electronic medical records and inventory updates between the clinic and staff with U.S. doctors.
Founded in 2010 by two long-time pharma market research professionals, Janet Kosloff and Diane Hayes, PhD, InCrowd is an innovative market intelligence company with a mobile microsurvey methodology and analytics engine that enables clients to reach targeted specialists and stakeholders easily among the company’s extensive and diverse “Crowd” of healthcare professionals. These experts are available on-demand throughout the U.S. and around the globe—the InCrowd platform is offered in 20 different languages. Rather than commissioning standard market research, InCrowd’s users leverage its short, focused microsurveys, which are usually answered on mobile platforms. About 50% of surveys are completed within two hours, and clients receive full results in days or weeks, not months. But the company excels in more than just market research.
- InCrowd issued its one-millionth “answer” for clients in April 2016, and achieved profitability on less than $3M in VC funding. Another sign of success: Customers routinely refer to the company as a verb, as in, “Need insights quickly? I’ll just InCrowd-it.”
- In May 2016, InCrowd debuted MicroTracker, the life science industry’s first automated approach to longitudinal tracking of brand perceptions by healthcare prescribers and consumers. In early use, MicroTracker enabled the InCrowd team to integrate Wave 1 and 2 results of one effort three times faster—saving 75% of the time it typically takes—as much as three hours per survey. Researchers can set up their tracking agendas for the entire year in minutes—saving dozens of hours every quarter.
- InCrowd leaders “walk the walk,” not just “talk the talk” about an achievement oriented, yet fun culture. The company announces big sales wins and major milestones with fanfare, often with an after work event. Additionally, the company uses “management by funny cartoon” during regular all-hands meetings where awards are presented to team members in the form of funny cartoons in which they are featured.
- Janet Kosloff mentors other local startup executives and both she and co-founder Diane Hayes are active in market research industry associations. InCrowd encourages and funds employee participation in local innovation events.
- Entrepreneur Magazine and CultureIQ selected InCrowd for its Top Company Cultures in small business list in November 2015—one of only 25 firms in the U.S.
- Holds annual service days, such as ones at the Boston Food Bank and Thompson’s Island. Contributes to employees’ individual charities, such as the Ride for the Cure cancer fundraiser. Designates half the buy-in for the company poker games to a mutually selected charity.
A multiple myeloma patient diagnosed today is going to have a very different patient journey than one diagnosed five years ago, and that is thanks to Jennifer Thomas. She understands when you work in oncology you can’t be afraid to look at things differently because people are fighting for their lives. She understands that a multiple myeloma patient is much more than their disease as she set out to change the typical patient journey. And, as she puts it, she knows that “innovation comes from wanting more, expecting more, and doing more.”
Going Beyond the Traditional
Jenn was responsible for leading the patient experience for DARZALEX® (daratumumab), which received breakthrough designation by the FDA as the first monoclonal antibody approved to treat multiple myeloma. Typically, a product with breakthrough designation that is fast tracked for launch could just rely on the excitement and promise of compelling clinical data. But Jenn knew success could not rely solely on the product’s clinical benefits and instead developed a new model for supporting patients. This new model was a first-of-its-kind at Janssen and takes into account the whole patient experience—addressing both clinical and psychosocial needs of patients.
To develop this model, Jenn examined published behavioral research in multiple myeloma and oncology to understand this patient population’s psychological needs and to see what proven strategies facilitate an optimal experience. Through this research, Jenn and her team discovered key evidence-based strategies endorsed by the Oncology Nursing Society and American Cancer Society including Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing, and Cognitive Behavioral Techniques. These techniques may have a positive impact on patient coping, symptoms of multiple myeloma, and quality of life.
Jenn also consulted with patients, nurses, and advocacy organizations to validate and refine tools based on those three techniques in order to ensure she was addressing the needs of patients and nurses. This combination of published evidence, along with real-world feedback, helped to focus and refine what is truly valuable for patients.
The result of Jenn’s findings is the newly formed Nurse Educator role. These Nurse Educators consist of experienced oncology infusion nurses who are trained both on the DARZALEX® product, efficacy, and dosing, as well as by a behavioral expert on evidence-based strategies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Techniques and Mindfulness. Their role is support the DARZALEX® brand, patients, and healthcare providers in several ways, such as offering education about the specific details involved in administering DARZALEX® to the clinical infusion teams.
Jenn also developed evidence-based tools that address the unique behavioral needs of multiple myeloma, such as managing stress, challenging negative thinking, and accurately understanding how DARZALEX® will impact their life. The Nurse Educators provide these tools to the infusion nurses who, research showed, are interested in resources that go beyond the clinical needs of their patients to address their deeper psychosocial and behavioral concerns. The patient tools were designed in a flexible way so patients could use them at home or infusion centers.
Finally, the Nurse Educators received formalized training in Motivational Interviewing, a patient-centered communication style that may help healthcare providers understand and motivate their patients. Currently, Nurse Educators consult with oncology practices and infusion nurses to help oncology teams learn how to use these innovative, patient-centered communication strategies to effectively uncover and address real-world needs and concerns of patients.
Enhancing The Patient Experience
This new program launched Q4 2015 and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers. Due to the initial interest and demand, Jenn is looking to expand the Nurse Educator program—and so is Janssen. This new patient support model has become the standard at Janssen as other teams are looking to this new model to fully optimize their patient support efforts.
“Jennifer’s work demonstrates how marketers optimize patient outcomes without abandoning commercial objectives,” says one of our judges. “This model is also valuable because it offers an integrated professional and patient approach to optimizing the patient experience. Jennifer is a true trailblazer!”
Marketers have a sea of data available to them, but not everyone has figured out the best way to use it. The APTIOM Marketing Team from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals has absolutely done that—and much more. In leveraging the in-depth insights of extensive qualitative research, the team introduced a segmentation model during their second year on the market that dramatically changed the growth trajectory of their brand for the remainder of its lifecycle.
Strong Collaboration Across Key Commercial Functions
The APTIOM team is made up of three departments: The Brand Team, the Customer Strategy & Shared Services (CS3) Team, and Managed Markets. Through joint collaboration, along with a steadfast partnership with the sales organization, they strive to provide a personalized, best-in-class customer journey by creating a surround sound of innovative and authentic personal and non-personal touch points.
Following a slower than expected first year of commercialization, the team closely examined expansive customer behavioral and attitudinal data that helped craft the introduction of a new product position within the marketplace. As a result of the refined positioning, the corresponding segmentation, and the tailored approach to personal and non-personal promotion, the brand achieved a doubling of revenue and tripling of TRx year-over-year.
In APTIOM’s second year on the market, the team focused on accelerating product adoption and decided to look more closely at its share of voice (SOV) across personal and non-personal channels. From their research, they recognized an opportunity to revise their promotional mix in order to achieve a more prominent SOV across channels. While continuing to call upon key customers based on traditional deciling and market potential, the brand “fine-tuned” their messaging to prominently position itself based on differentiating brand characteristics.
Developing a Sound Segmentation Strategy
From a non-personal perspective, the team leveraged available proprietary data to assess their customer base beyond the traditional metrics by overlaying the segmentation with channel-specific affinity data. While customizing the appropriate message for each physician segment based on their prescribing behavior, they further drilled down by using channel affinity analysis to ensure they were sending the tailored information through the specific channel(s) that their customers preferred. The approach allowed for promotional efficiencies, while also ensuring that their key customers receive the appropriate message through their preferred communication medium.
In order to pull this off, the team had to be willing to break down traditional silos and work together to tackle brand challenges from a fully integrated personal and non-personal approach. This is often easier said than done, especially when it comes to the pharma industry. But collectively, the APTIOM Marketing Team is composed of independent and innovative leaders who are willing to combine efforts to develop best-in-class marketing strategies and corresponding tactics. By demonstrating a fierce and unrelenting commitment to the brand, strong teamwork, and collaboration across commercial functions, the team has the brand well positioned to help patients suffering from partial onset seizures for years to come.
Twenty years ago, when Doug Watson was appointed the President & CEO of Novartis U.S., the industry was facing increased scrutiny over high drug prices, greater resistance to physicians seeing sales reps, and battling with First Lady Hillary Clinton. As Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s French proverb loosely translates, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” But, the fact is in those 20 years, a lot has changed in this industry—and at the hands of Doug Watson.
From Math Student to Pharma CEO
Doug’s entrance into this industry began as a summer intern in the 1960s at Geigy UK, a chemicals company with a pharmaceuticals business unit. Still deciding what to do with the mathematics degree he would receive from Churchill College, Cambridge, he wrote to companies asking, “What do you do with mathematicians?” Geigy provided the most interesting opportunity as the company was establishing a new department to build mathematical models to come up with more efficient ways to meet various challenges.
“People do that 24 hours a day in their sleep now,” Doug offers. “But back in the ’60s, when computers were monster things and you used trays of punch cards to write software programs and feed data in, that was not common and I was thrilled to see a practical use to simulation models.”
After being offered a full-time job following graduation, Doug steadily climbed the corporate ladder. When Geigy merged with Ciba in 1970 to become Ciba-Geigy, Doug was appointed the UK Corporate Planning Officer to help establish a new headquarters in England. Later, he was offered the opportunity to be the personal assistant to Dr. Sam Koechlin, the Chairman of the Executive Committee, in Basel, Switzerland. This three-year position did not involve serving as a simple bag man, but pre-reading material, drafting items, and offering a truly honest opinion.
“I learned a lot from that position,” Doug explains. “First: You can’t win every disagreement—sometimes you have to make your point and if you can’t prevail, make a tactical step aside. Second: The importance of a teamwork-driven organization as opposed to a dictatorial-driven organization.”
Doug adopted that philosophy as he became the SVP of Planning & Business Development when moving to Summit, NJ, and eventually the President & CEO of Novartis U.S. after Ciba-Geigy merged with Sandoz in 1996 to become Novartis Corporation. In all, he spent 33 years with same organization—making an impression on everyone he worked with.
A Leader Who Cares
“I strongly separate the word leadership from management,” Doug explains. “I was a great believer in getting all employees—that includes the cafeteria waitress to a senior research scientist—on the same page, telling them: This is what we stand for and this is our vision.”
Richard Klein, who is currently retired but was the Director of Budgets and Financial Analysis at Ciba when he first met Doug, says, “He’s probably the best listener that I’ve ever known. He hears you when you speak. But what makes him remarkable: He is just so good with people.”
Klein explains Doug arrived in Summit following a union strike, but he immediately worked on changing that relationship. “He basically took the approach that the union members were just like every other employee. He treated the union with respect, and became friends with some members.”
Alan Main, EVP, CMC & Supply Operations at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc., was on the Executive Management Committee at Ciba, tells his own favorite story regarding Doug’s treatment of employees. Before one of his first management meetings, he asked Doug if he could leave early to attend his son’s first birthday party. Doug encouraged him to make the announcement to the whole team and reminded them to never forget that their families provide the foundation and support vital to their success. They finished the meeting in record time and everyone applauded as Alan left.
“For Doug, ‘doing the right thing’ was not a slogan; it was his north star,” says Frank LaSaracina, who Doug hired as Finance Director at Ciba and is now a Member of the Board of Key International, Inc.
An Innovative Risk Taker
Paul Sartori, who was an HR executive at Ciba, describes Doug as a conservative person by nature. He never drank a beer from a bottle or wore shorts playing golf, but in business, he was an innovative risk taker.
Doug adopted a patient-centric philosophy before it became a buzzword. His team was responsible for several industry firsts, including transdermal delivery pharmaceuticals with Transderm Nitro, a treatment for Angina, which in patch form could more evenly distribute medication, offering fewer side effects; both colored and single-use contact lenses; fixed price guarantees with Lotensin, which protected patients from escalating costs of high blood pressure medication; and the first pharma product featuring a celebrity spokesperson, Yankees great, Mickey Mantle, with the Voltaren launch.
Ciba was also one of the first major pharma companies to enter the generics market by acquiring Geneva Generics in 1979. While the decision was not Doug’s alone, he did make sure not to “Ciba-Geigy-ize it.”
“My belief was we needed to understand what makes a generics company successful or unsuccessful,” Doug says. “I know only one way of doing that—go buy one and run it as a true generics company.”
After retiring from Novartis in 1999, Doug continues to positively impact the healthcare industry via board memberships in a number of companies. John H. Johnson, who is a board member at six companies himself, including Strongbridge Biopharma, says, “Doug is the best prepared board member I have run across. He takes great pride in everything he does as it relates to the board. He is not afraid to give feedback and maintains his cool in the most difficult of circumstances.”
But none of these achievements are what Doug looks back on most fondly. “More important to me: The success in growing people inside the organization,” Doug explains. “I look back on that with a great sense of pride. Ultimately, the key to me always: It’s not what you do, but the way that you do it.” A lesson his employees took to heart.
“Doug broke new and meaningful ground in business and in leadership,” Sartori says. “If we had more like him today, I’d venture the industry’s public standing would be much higher than it is at the moment. He helped teach many of us to ‘do well, by doing good.’”
Honoring the 2016 Brand Champions
Brand Champions aren’t hard to spot. It’s not because they wear a cape and swoop in at the right moment to save the day. They are not just there at the right moment. They are always there. They are the most dedicated members of their brand teams. They are the ones everyone else naturally gravitates toward and listens to. They are natural leaders, innovators, and advisers. And if the need arises, they can serve as their own one-person brand team. So maybe hidden underneath their work clothes they are wearing a cape. Because there is something a little extraordinary about these individuals. They aren’t your standard everyday brand managers. They are Brand Champions.
This year, we had a PM360 Trailblazer first. We recognized a pair of marketers for their work together in the same category. Let’s call them the Dynamic Dermatology Duo: Jon Meneese and Lee Hatton from Galderma. And while our 16 other winners would also likely credit a colleague or team for their success—we are putting the spotlight on them. That’s because it was a colleague who recognized something special in each one of our winners. Because instinctively, everyone in this industry knows what it means to be a Brand Champion. They are not hard to spot.
To go right to one of our winners, click on their link below:
Perspective is everything. The image of a bathroom door might not mean much to you, but it does to ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease patients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). To them it represents the physical or metaphorical barriers they face between their disease and a more normal life. But James Berger turned that image into something else for UC and Crohn’s disease patients—a symbol of opportunity for their future in remission.
When James was tasked with leading the launch of consumer campaigns for Entyvio, an IBD treatment for UC and Crohn’s patients, he knew the importance of seeing things through the eyes of the patient. So he and his team developed a multichannel DTC campaign that did just that with one simple, but familiar visual: Doors. The 60 second TV spot juxtaposes images of closed bathroom doors—a true depiction of patients’ lives in isolation physically and emotionally—to talking to their doctor and ultimately re-opening doors of opportunity thanks to treatment with Entyvio.
The campaign certainly resonated with patients. Within 15 minutes of the initial airing, traffic to Entyvio.com increased by almost 3x.
But James didn’t stop there. He developed an infrastructure of patient-centric materials across all available channels, including a branded Twitter page (only the second one in all of pharma marketing) and Facebook page; an industry-leading YouTube presence (with the mini-series What The Doors Mean To Me featuring real UC/Crohn’s sufferers who now use Entyvio); and a VR experience via Google Cardboard that demonstrated how Entyvio works.
Altogether, the campaign led to an increase of forecasted goals for the brand, and most importantly, it has now reached tens of thousands of patients and its reach continues to grow at a rapid pace.
Donna is a true leader, a force of strength for the Janssen XARELTO brand team that pushes them every day to think beyond the boundaries of what has been done before. She strives to create an environment of change, growth, innovation, and challenging the status quo. Her support for her team affords them the confidence and foundation to boldly come up with ideas to drive the business forward.
Donna and her team have great ambition for XARELTO in the future and are strategically focusing the brand to win in the new healthcare environment in which brand differentiation and success are largely tied to outcomes. The team is choosing to focus on XARELTO patients and their journey with the brand over time.
By bringing clinical data to life in unique ways and tying it directly to actual patients, all stakeholders can see not only the clinical needs of the patient, but the emotional ones as well.
Donna’s enthusiasm and energy are contagious. She brings positivity and a can-do, will-do attitude that spur teams to work extremely effectively together. Donna consistently encourages team members to contribute and is always receptive to new ways of thinking and working together to contribute to the larger success of the team and business.
As such, XARELTO is helping to treat potentially devastating and life-altering health issues for patients. By driving the effective marketing of XARELTO, Donna has actively contributed to these patients’ well-being, and their healthcare providers’ success in treating them.
Central Nervous System
Imagine having to launch a new indication for a drug while your company is asking you to relocate your operations from Chesterbrook, PA to Lexington, MA, which would also ultimately lead to 90% of your team leaving. That is exactly the situation that Chris Saunders was faced with—and successfully overcame.
The impressive feat was not lost on his boss, Mark Rus, Global Neuroscience Franchise Lead, Shire, who described Chris’ task as “essentially changing the passengers in the car while driving 100 miles an hour on the freeway.” Rus added, “Chris was an invaluable deputy and crucial leader of the team—we couldn’t have done what we did without him.”
So, how was Chris able to navigate around the relocation and launch Vyvanse for the indication of moderate to severe Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.) in adults? Perspective. “We’d learned so much about these adult patients that we knew what we were going through paled in comparison,” Chris says. “We wanted to provide hope to our patients.”
Chris rebuilt the B.E.D. team by recruiting people with diverse experiences and backgrounds from within Shire, the field sales organization, as well as external talent. He taught them about the disease state and the need for championing for adults patients with B.E.D., as it is often a misunderstood disease. It is not an aliment of the stomach, but the mind—and Chris made sure everyone knew that.
Ultimately, Vyvanse prescriptions for adults grew 3% in the first five to six weeks after the indication launched. Globally, Vyvanse grew 19% in 2015, in part driven by an 8% uptick in U.S. prescriptions.
Jon Meneese and Lee Hatton have made PM360 Trailblazer history. They are the first pair of marketers to be named Brand Champions. Typically, we focus on one marketer in each therapeutic category. So, what made the work of this dynamic duo so impressive? It involves comic books, heroes, and yes, even costumes.
Jon and Lee teamed up with McCann Echo to launch Soolantra (ivermectin) Cream, 1%—the first rosacea topical medication in more than 10 years. Jon and Lee wanted to create excitement for this new treatment to help overcome the disappointing results of current treatments for rosacea that have made dermatologists cynical and disenchanted.
So, rather than the typical ads of “happy” and “smiling” patients, they tried something a little different. The campaign depicts the rise of a hero, “Tough Topical,” who confronts a petrified papule and, finally, has rosacea running scared! In market research, dermatologists rated the campaign’s memorability, differentiation, strength, and efficacy with high marks. However, overall feedback on the use of a hero was mixed, from both doctors and executives within Galderma. But Jon and Lee were confident in their strategy.
They even drummed up excitement within Galderma with a launch meeting featuring activities such as “Whack a Pappy,” comic books, and an appearance from the “Tough Topical” (i.e., Lee in a “Tough Topical” costume). Ultimately, they were given the go-ahead and it paid off.
After only eight weeks on the U.S. market, Soolantra Cream reached 6.2% market share—that number has since nearly doubled to 12.1% total market share (and 16.8% share in the dermatology segment alone).
Nothing sounds better to a marketer’s ears then hearing that customers connect with a brand. But it must sound even sweeter to Kevin Bell considering how many more patients his work could impact. As the marketing director for the Onglyza family of brands, he was expected to grow market share for a key brand in AstraZeneca’s Diabetes Portfolio in what is an incredibly competitive DPP-4 inhibitor market—at a time when doctors are limiting access to reps. This was especially problematic considering Onglyza’s promotional materials were designed for long sales calls that are no longer the norm. But Kevin, with the help of The Bloc, was able to find power in brevity.
Diving deep into market research, Kevin and his team identified a key brand distinguisher: Doctors used DPP-4 inhibitors in patients with type 2 diabetes who are uncontrolled, but close to goal. Kevin repositioned Onglyza as the brand for patients who need just a little more help reaching their A1C goal and evolved the brand with a new, highly impactful campaign. He also focused on making the sales call shorter by limiting the brand’s story to just three key messages, which allowed for a 30-second call that was both relevant and memorable.
By the end, doctors were reciting the name of the campaign back to the AstraZeneca reps. But that is not all they remembered. For the first time in more than three years, efficacy data is the No. 1 recalled message in unaided message recall surveys, which really is the key to helping more patients who may benefit from Onglyza—Kevin’s most important objective.
“Kevin effectively leveraged customer insights to create a campaign that acknowledged and positioned the brand in just the right spot,” says one of our judges. “Simple execution with untangled creativity.”
Catharine Sanders exemplifies what UCB wanted to achieve when it re-organized its business structure into Patient Value Units to reflect the company’s commitment to patient engagement. Just 10 months into her leadership within the Immunology Patient Value Unit, UCB has exponentially bolstered its commitment to meeting the right patients in need of treatment information at the right time, where it makes sense in their treatment journey.
Catharine demonstrated her commitment to not just reaching patients, but engaging directly with them through the full-scale “A Way Forward” IBD treatment brand experience. This effort involved educating those appropriate for therapy in 1:1 conversations at advocacy events across the country. Patients were able to learn about the brand while sharing their story and connecting personally with UCB representatives at walks and patient education events.
They were also allowed to have a little fun. The experience included a unique contest called “Show Us Your Shirts!” in which patient teams in markets across the country could compete for a chance to have $500 donated to their CCFA local chapter on behalf of their team. This contest helped show people living with Crohn’s disease that UCB truly understands their journey by appreciating the emotion and humor that’s often displayed on team shirts.
“Taking the message to patients, where they are, is unique today in an era of mass marketing,” says one judge. “This campaign was grassroots and I loved it.”
When it comes to bridging the gap between science and communication, few people do it as well as Norm Nagl, PhD. Norm is an experienced oncology pharmaceutical professional with a successful track record of strategic development and tactical implementation to build awareness and achieve brand objectives. Throughout his career he has reached more than 7,000 oncology healthcare providers through various initiatives.
He has helped to lead the efforts for several global educational programs, including multiple “Current Trends in Immuno-Oncology” symposia held in Rome, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Munich, Sydney, and Bogota in 2014-2016. Each of the “Current Trends” symposia is by invitation only with up to 300 attendees from various specialties who focus on oncology and gather together to review the latest immuno-oncology data, clinical trial updates, and future directions. That only scratches the surface of Norm’s efforts to both educate and learn from healthcare professionals. He also organizes Satellite Symposia to provide HCPs with the latest information in the therapeutic area; Closed Research Updates to educate current and potential future investigators on the latest Merck scientific developments; as well as Global Advisory Boards to obtain scientific/medical advice in order to help Merck develop products and identify the best commercial strategy.
When he isn’t helping to improve the pharmaceutical marketplace directly, Norm serves as Adjunct Professor of Genetics, Department of Biology at Monmouth University and delights in being able to share his experiences with potential new colleagues.
It’s estimated that over three million people in the U.S. are living with Hepatitis C, but the majority do not know they have it. For those who have been already diagnosed, historical treatment options left patients with a hopeless dynamic of often selecting to suffer from the disease versus suffering through treatments—often with debilitating side effects—that did not always prove to work.
Andrea Porzio led the consumer/patient marketing team for Gilead’s HCV franchise, which started with SOVALDI (sofosbuvir). They launched Gilead’s first large-scale DTC effort with the disease awareness campaign “Forget Me Not,” designed to re-engage already diagnosed patients with their Hep C and provide them support that due to the recent scientific advances, there has never been a better time to treat Hep C. Following this successful campaign launch, Andrea lead another broad scale DTC effort for the breakthrough treatment, HARVONI (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir)—a once daily pill that demonstrated in clinical trials over a 96% cure rate for patients with HCV genotype 1 Hep C.
Across each of these launches, Andrea instituted a multichannel and disciplined approach to provide critical education to this much needed community which included: TV, print, digital, point of care, CRM, and community based initiatives. Through her partnership with key agencies such as STRIKEFORCE Communications (to support the development of breakthrough creative); Evoke Health (supporting comprehensive digital efforts); Horizon Media (with full scale media strategy and support); and Snow Companies (who provided personalized 1:1 education and support for people who called any of the franchises live agent support lines), significant business results were achieved. But more importantly, the ultimate result was in advancing patients toward achieving their CURE.
While Andrea was key in helping Gilead achieve market leadership, she also accomplished something greater: Contributing to making the hope of eradicating a disease a real possibility.
It’s easy to understand why our judges chose Lisa Flaiz as the Innovation Brand Champion. Innovate is quite simply what Lisa does. It’s practically the only word necessary for her job description. But let’s assume you want to know a bit more. Lisa has been a crucial part of the Janssen Digital Center of Excellence (DCoE) since 2012. The DCoE’s goal: Assist Janssen in staying at the forefront of marketing tools and technologies in order to better serve patients, HCPs, payers, and other stakeholders. In 2016, that meant taking on a new challenge.
With Health IT, EMRs, and EHRs becoming an increasingly important part of the healthcare landscape, Lisa became the leader and point of contact for all Health IT/EMR/EHR related projects for all Janssen brands and therapeutic areas. Lisa started with comprehensive training to inform brand, marketing, and sales teams of the importance of EMRs/EHRs. Then she took it a step further.
Because of the vast number of brand teams and therapeutic areas within Janssen, many teams did not effectively communicate current and future Health IT related projects to the global organization. In response, Lisa accelerated numerous projects in this space in Q1 and Q2 of 2016 focused on patient savings, patient education, HCP engagement, adherence, and patient support programs. And now almost every Janssen franchise, including oncology, immunology, neurology, dermatology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, and metabolic, has taken part in some kind of Health IT initiative. This level of institutional knowledge and coordination is unparalleled in the industry, which means Lisa and the DCoE’s work is helping Janssen become a leader in the Health IT space.
Entyvio, a novel treatment for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), is Takeda’s only medical benefit and specialty medication. Beth Davis was tasked with developing the value and market access strategy for the brand—helping to position and market Entyvio to payers and integrated health systems.
Beth and her team worked closely with payers and consultants to develop a strong value proposition that focused on how Entyvio can solve problems for payers and their members. This included new messaging and resources featuring specific real-world data on use, a comparative cost per outcome story, clinical benefits, and facts highlighting the burden of managing members with IBD. Beth has also led the development of new capabilities and resources to better meet the needs of account customers.
Another innovative service offering that Takeda and Beth are working to develop includes the use of wearable technology combined with an app and software platform. The program would provide physicians a tool to track active and passive information from patients through an online portal.
Today, Entyvio has a high approval rating for patients and continues to evolve its accessibility for the IBD community. It has been one of the most successful launches in the biologic market according to IMS and is a cornerstone of Takeda’s GI expanding portfolio.
For instance, Angela has accomplished many feats with Cavitron, a leading line of ultrasonic scalers with a 50-year history, but was beginning the process of brand revitalization when she was brought on board. Her fresh perspective and sharp insight reinvigorated enthusiasm for the brand among the target audiences of dentists and dental hygienists through the use of the award-winning “Molar Mountain” campaign. She was also instrumental in bringing together a cross-functional team to reposition existing products within the line to ramp up dragging sales.
Her talents were then called on to help with Nupro, a line of consumable dental products which Dentsply was promoting through one-off ads that utilized disparate imagery and a strict feature/benefit structure. Angela changed direction with the “Nu World” campaign, which united all of Nupro’s products and presented the benefit of the entire range brand.
Most recently, Angela led the relaunch of Captivate by Nupro, Dentsply’s whitening system, that had seen sagging sales numbers for the past several years. Angela worked closely with the clinical development team and key external leaders to successfully relaunch Captivate by Nupro, leading to record sales.
With the recent merger of Dentsply and Sirona, Angela’s expertise in creating cohesive brands and her knowledge of the professional preventive dental market will continue to be a key success factor as she continues the work of accelerating the success of Dentsply Sirona as the leading solutions provider in the global dental marketplace.
For years, the VIAGRA (sildenafil citrate) brand team kept hearing that some patients carry VIAGRA tablets with them—either unwrapped and loose in their pockets or wrapped in a tissue—so they have VIAGRA with them when they need it. So it was about time someone took charge and offered ED sufferers a better solution for carrying their pills. That someone was Erica Krakower.
In 2015, Erica, who had already proven to be an indispensable asset to the VIAGRA brand team, led the launch of VIAGRA Single Packs—a slim, single 100 mg or 50 mg dose package. This was the first and only ED medication to offer this packaging option. VIAGRA Single Packs gave patients a reliable vehicle to store and carry VIAGRA with them.
To promote this new offering, Erica and the team integrated Single Packs into the already very successful and groundbreaking “Woman” DTC campaign, while still allowing it to stand out on its own. They accomplished this with a “show, not tell” strategy, executed in the form of inserts accompanying existing ads. The inserts highlighted examples of places where men could keep their Single Packs (e.g., shirt pocket, travel kit) and situations where men may want to take their Single Pack (e.g., date night, vacation).
The result: The Single Packs television advertisement was the brand’s most successful to date. Not only has it motivated men to talk to their physicians, it also motivated physicians to talk to sales representatives—Single Packs messaging helped to increase the time representatives are able to spend with their HCP customers.
Michelle Poole is a dedicated marketer who has extensive experience in the ophthalmology and optometry therapeutic area, where she has been instrumental in helping patients to better understand their disorders while managing brands to success. In the eight and half years she spent at Bausch + Lomb, one achievement was quickly followed by another—and then another. During her tenure with Bausch + Lomb, she co-led the successful launch of Lotemax Ointment, and led brand activities for Besivance, Zylet, and Zirgan.
What is most impressive about her tenure at Bausch + Lomb is her ability to continue to handle several of the companies’ top brands while leading the launch of two new products between early 2015 and the beginning of 2016. First, was the internal launch of the Sjö Diagnostic Test, which was acquired from Nicox. Michelle prepared the field force for the launch of the test for Sjögren’s syndrome, a serious autoimmune disease. Next, she was appointed the lead on the company’s latest glaucoma treatment overseeing all commercial launch activities. She contributes much of her success to the relationships she has built with ophthalmologists and optometrists over the years, and listening to their feedback and recommendations.
But now Michelle has moved on to a new challenge. She has accepted a position as the Sr. Director Marketing – Ophthalmology at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, where she is currently building a new team and preparing to lead more brands to success. She remains committed to ophthalmology with a current focus in retina and uveitis.
As one judge explains, “Matthew Tucker deserves to be the Brand Champion in Pain/Inflammation due to his innovative approach in addressing brand challenges, leveraging an integrated, multichannel approach including CRM, website, apps, content marketing, media, conferences, peer-to-peer, and a focused sales approach.” Another put it succinctly: “In the end, Mathew Tucker exceeded forecast by addressing an untapped market.” So now that you have a good idea of why he won, let’s learn how he achieved those results.
Ultiva (remifentanil HCI), an IV opioid analgesic approved by the FDA in 1996, saw utilization stagnate by uninterested HCPs. Unit growth was flat or negative each of the previous three years. Matt set an ambitious goal: Double-digit unit growth. He started by developing a brand ecosystem that integrated the approaches our first judge mentioned above. Matt also identified new market opportunities by focusing on new procedures and practices, such as ambulatory centers, that generated the greatest unit growth.
He helped launch the first lead-nurturing program at Mylan, and leveraged CRM-enabled Ultiva to reach more than half of anesthesiologists in the U.S. each week. Knowing that providers typically work across multiple specialties, Matt leveraged an “Amazon”-like model to cross-promote Ultiva in different procedures. This drove penetration into one procedure, and challenged anesthesia providers to consider new procedure types at the same time.
In the end, Matt exceeded his goal of double-digit unit growth, which was 6% greater than forecast—18% growth in units and 24% in sales—on a brand many felt could not be grown.
When Manny Gaspar joined Shire in 2015 to help lead HAE marketing efforts, the HAE franchise was steadily growing. The franchise began with Firazyr, an acute HAE treatment. Then Shire acquired ViroPharma, Inc., and inherited Cinryze, a prevention treatment for HAE. Soon after Manny arrived, Shire also acquired Dyax Corp., which added Kalbitor to the company’s HAE portfolio. Manny sure had come to Shire at a busy time, and he was managing all of this in the midst of a cross-country move from San Diego to Shire’s headquarters in Boston. But despite all of the challenges, Manny quickly became a driving force on the marketing team.
Manny’s first order of business was to begin the much-needed integration of the siloed HAE marketing and sales teams. After an intense ramp-up for the post-acquisition Kalbitor promotion, he began building a co-positioning strategy that would allow the sales force to promote the three individual products while creating a strong overall identity for the full HAE franchise.
Manny was able to accomplish this transition seamlessly by changing the Shire conversation around HAE and moving the marketing team towards a franchise-focused approach. This was not just about selling products, but about shaping a community of patients. His commitment to building relationships with real HAE patients featured in the brand campaigns was just one way he set a strong example.
His work and collaboration with his team have produced real business results. In 2015, the HAE portfolio revenue reached nearly $1 billion in sales, exceeding previous years’ numbers by almost 25%. And somehow, Manny has kept a calm head on his shoulders and that easy California smile on his face.
Henry McMillan personifies Sunovion’s commitment to helping people with serious medical conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Since joining Sunovion in 2013, Henry has been a key driver for multiple Brovana marketing projects, but his recent vision for helping patients with COPD in the long-term care (LTC) setting has been particularly impactful.
Approximately 20% of all people in LTC have COPD, yet there was a gap in education among key stakeholders about the effective management of the condition. Working with his partner, AXON Communications, Henry developed a targeted approach to educate healthcare providers in LTC, including physicians, consulting pharmacists, and directors of nursing.
Ultimately, Brovana’s expanded promotional efforts and product education reached 689 key HCPs in the channel in FY2014 and increased HCP engagement by approximately 25% in FY2015. Henry also led the creation of a dedicated speaker’s bureau to support ongoing education and engagement. Since its launch 11 months ago, more than 400 HCPs practicing in the LTC space have attended the speaker’s bureau.
Sunovion believed there was great opportunity in the LTC channel and increased their overall focus on reaching HCPs in long-term facilities by creating an account team to manage the channel strategically. Henry initiated collaboration efforts with the leadership of the American Medical Directors Association—the governing body in LTC—and gathered important insights through a multi-disciplinary Advisory Board Meeting to discuss the specific implications of managing COPD in the long-term care setting.
Now in its ninth year, Brovana continues to grow its revenue and market share, and the company’s traction in LTC has played an important role in this success.
Synera is a prescription pain patch that combines lidocaine, tetracaine, and heat to help prevent pain in patients requiring needle-sticks. Traditionally, the brand has been used in the pediatric segment, but Galen US and Therese Heimbold made a bold statement about their support for women by reimagining Synera’s use to help women undergoing fertility treatments who receive painful needle sticks throughout their in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.
Ever humble, Therese says, “I’m not sure it is earth shattering, but we really do help these patients, which is the best part of doing this initiative and campaign. With their end goal of having a baby, many times the physical pain of repetitive needle sticks are overlooked because these women will do, will suffer almost anything, to get pregnant. We are educating these patients that they do not have to suffer through the needle stick pain. Synera helps them a bit on their journey of building families.”
For HCPs, she led the development of a campaign with the theme “Help ease her journey,” while for the patient, the theme was “Take control of your comfort.”
One of our judges called Therese’s efforts, “An interesting and innovative way to expand product sales in an ethical and compliant manner. Great example of thinking beyond the current product’s uses. Impressive.”
Pharma’s Trailblazing Initiatives
Pharma marketers seem to finally be channeling their inner daredevils as they push the boundaries that have previously held them back and fully embrace the new avenues available to them. Take this year’s Sales Aid winner. Typically, when you think about a sales aid, your mind goes to print brochures or perhaps an iPad detail. But Confideo Labs and Boehringer Ingelheim collaborated on what may be the first VRDetail. That’s right, a virtual reality detail, during what is still the beginning of VR’s rebirth. They didn’t wait until VR was firmly established. They wanted to be the innovators in this space.
Or how about this year’s app winner? Astellas, Pathway, and Katalyst formed an innovative partnership with the RunPee app. At the time, this app was still in its infancy, but considering that it helps people identify the “best time” during a particular movie to use the restroom, it was sure to be popular. And it was also the perfect partner for Myrbetriq, a treatment for Over-Active Bladder. As RunPee subsequently gained recognition across several media outlets, awareness for Myrbetriq also rose.
Meanwhile, our Point of Care winner, ContextMedia:Health, offers a way for brands to reach patients through a physician office’s WiFi, which pretty much everyone sitting in the waiting room is going to use. That is in addition to the Infusion Room Tablet they created, specifically designed with support from cancer support organizations to help patients better understand the infusion room experience.
These are just a few examples of how this year’s 18 winners are pushing boundaries. And that is true even in traditional channels, where they wowed our judges with their daring creative choices that are sure to grab attention. But underneath all of the innovation is an attempt to deliver something authentic—a message to which patients can actually relate. Because all of these winners understand that at the end of day, the goal is to help improve patient outcomes.
To go right to one of our winners, click on their link below:
Myrbetriq / RunPee Movie App Sponsorship (Astellas, Pathway, Katalyst)
LVNG With (AstraZeneca, DigitasLBi)
ELIQUIS (Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Publicis North America)
CINRYZE Campaign (Shire, Dudnyk)
EMR Coupons & Co-Pay Access (PSKW/PDR)
Astellas Learn & Earn Driving Challenge (Astellas, Katalyst)
Insights, Research and Messaging Achieve Increased Understanding of Diagnosis and Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder (Shire, Healthcasts)
You Don’t Know Jack About MS (Teva Pharmaceuticals, Intouch Solutions, Rx Mosaic)
SaxendaCare® (Novo Nordisk, MicroMass Communications, Inc.)
Patient Mobile Connect and Digital Infusion Room Tablet (ContextMedia:Health)
Atypical Antipsychotic Product Launch (Otsuka, Lundbeck, Concentric Health Experience)
Iressa Global Campaign (AstraZeneca, AbelsonTaylor)
AskNow Service Platform Launch for Entresto (Novartis, Havas Lynx)
Praxbind Virtual Reality MOA (by Confideo Labs for Boehringer Ingelheim)
“Call for Good Creative” (Sentrix Health Communications)
Straight Talk Acromegaly (Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Ruder Finn)
Caregivers Speak Up (The Bloc)
Linzess – “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” (Allergan, Inc., Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc., FCB Health)
App/Digital Solution or Suite
Myrbetriq is the first drug in its class that reduces many of the side effects typically associated with other Over-Active Bladder (OAB) prescription options. While Myrbetriq had a strong story to tell, the OAB landscape remained cluttered with numerous over-the-counter coping and treatment options, as well as a few existing Rx brands. Both sides of the market were exhibiting aggressive spending levels, deals with major retailers, and incentive saving plans. Additionally, many women in the brand’s target of age 45+ had no knowledge of what OAB was, while others were too embarrassed to discuss the condition, and still others were battling more serious illnesses that took priority when they were deciding what to treat.
The challenge was to quickly launch a new brand using innovative solutions to combat a cluttered environment of both DTC and OTC treatment options with moderate media budgets. Pathway identified an opportunity for Myrbetriq to partner with the RunPee app to create the “don’t miss a moment” initiative. RunPee identifies the “best time” during a particular movie to use the restroom while not missing out on key plot points.
The partnership with RunPee occurred when the app was in its infancy. This enabled Myrbetriq to develop a multi-faceted program at a very cost-effective rate. Based on the success and exposure from the campaign, RunPee subsequently gained recognition across several media outlets such as CBS News, NPR, CNET and others. The partnership led to almost 300K downloads of the app and 80K Myrbetriq.com site visits.
As one of our judges says, “Excellent use of messaging and media; innovative in approach and execution; great results—by far, the best app submitted.”
Consumer Website/Online Initiative
A common misperception is that lung cancer patients must have been smokers. That perception, combined with the stigma of smoking, creates guilt and shame through notions such as “they brought this on themselves” or “they deserve it.” That guilt, combined with the lack of federal funding and public advocacy, means little empathy or hope.
While patients with other cancers and illnesses are often greeted with open arms, colorful ribbons and events, lung cancer has no rally cry—instead, pictures of ashtrays and black lungs dominate search results, reinforcing the stigma and driving the isolation engulfing this disease. That is why AstraZeneca, along with partner DigitasLBi, set out to create, connect, and activate a community of people living with lung cancer and their loved ones with one goal in mind: Move people from simply coping to living with lung cancer.
To better understand life with lung cancer, the team spent over 80 hours with nearly 100 patients, loved ones, doctors, and experts. That time helped with the formation of LVNG With, a community that offers lung cancer patients a place to connect with people going through something similar; find useful information, resources, and tools; as well as read inspirational stories from other people living with lung cancer.
The lung cancer community has embraced the site with 116,847 unique visitors since July 2015, as well as high social engagement with 93,000 likes, 11,474 shares, and 15,718 comments since the December launch. The site has also strengthened the relationship between HCPs and AstraZeneca sales teams—66% of HCPs report that LVNG With improved their perspective of AstraZeneca’s leadership role in the lung cancer space. But, most importantly, people who were once isolated by the illness have connected with others like them, while also finding inspiration to embrace life and start fully living again.
ELIQUIS® (apixaban) evolved from the highly successful launch campaign, “Strivers,” to a new DTC campaign “Personal Best,” in Q2 2015. Entering the market third did not stop ELIQUIS from achieving impressive results. Post-launch, ELIQUIS brand and ad awareness were high, and continued to build, getting closer to competitors that had launched much earlier. This new campaign has had significant impact in helping educate patients about ELIQUIS and has also led to increased market share for the brand. The “Personal Best” campaign was also selected to be this year’s Trailblazer Best DTC campaign.
Patients frequently feel overwhelmed and overloaded with information when being prescribed a new treatment. Shire and Dudnyk wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case for patients being prescribed CINRYZE, a twice-weekly infusion that prevents attacks from occurring in patients with hereditary angioedema (HAE). This rare genetic disorder causes random attacks of swelling in various parts of the body, which can be life-threatening, and generally result in missed days of work or school. Most patients go their entire lives without meeting another person with HAE, so the CINRYZE Patient Welcome Kit needed to stand as an onboarding experience that addressed specific needs, filled information gaps, and invited patients to join a warm, supportive Shire HAE community.
The Welcome Kit was also a critical component because it was the introductory piece to the new CINRYZE campaign. The goal: Highlight the stories of patients who were finally able to live their lives free from the physical, emotional, and social burden of HAE. The campaign used real HAE patients who were on therapy with CINRYZE. They gave true accounts of how CINRYZE helped them move their lives “forward,” as shown in the footprint featured in the campaign. The aspirational imagery and direct copy challenged physicians to see HAE from their patients’ point of view and to keep prevention top of mind.
To promote the “moving forward” theme, the team used arrows as brand hallmarks throughout each component of the kit. A concerted effort was made to streamline copy and create open space within each brochure to help establish CINRYZE as a modern, simple therapy option.
As a result of this patient initiative, the marketing team at Shire has received extremely positive feedback from all stakeholders, including patients, physicians, and colleagues.
As demand for financial assistance programs increases PSKW/PDR, now ConnectiveRx, strives to provide unprecedented access, coupled with programmatic depth and breadth, in order to meet the needs of HCPs and their patients—including providing access to affordability programs directly within EMRs.
Through partnerships with EMR systems, ConnectiveRx makes financial assistance available to prescribers, patients, and pharmacists by integrating coupon and co-pay information into the ePrescribing module, producing patient-specific takeaway materials and integrating financial offer information into printed and electronic prescriptions.
ConnectiveRx made it a priority to conduct a series of studies that examine prescribers’ perceptions of, and attitudes toward, co-pay coupons, as well as ascertain the effectiveness of existing messaging. The research should assist with developing a series of best practices that can help craft the best messaging possible to drive offer redemptions.
The first round of results revealed a few interesting points. Prescribers overwhelmingly consider cost of medications to their patients when prescribing, making generics the default treatment of choice, and generic alternatives with co-pay coupons 6x more preferential to those without. Additionally, the majority of prescribers (78%) recognize the benefits of co-pay coupons in encouraging patients to fill initial scripts, as well as adhering to medications. Plus, 64% of prescribers say they want the option to send e-coupons and print them for patients.
The research supported ConnectiveRx’s “mixed media” approach to EMRs: Alert prescribers on-screen, hand something tangible to patients and/or make it available electronically if portals are an option, and integrate with both printed and electronic scripts. To ensure that connected EMRs can offer these affordability programs to prescribers and their patients with little pain and no cost, ConnectiveRx provides step-by-step integration guidance, marketing support, and revenue share models.
Only one in six physicians who walk by a booth at a medical conference will stop—and if even they do stop, they spend less than two minutes in the booth. Yet, Astellas still wanted to take advantage of this prime opportunity to get in front of doctors at the American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting to educate urologists about its urology portfolio consisting of Xtandi (enzalutamide), VESIcare (solifencin succinate) and Myrbetriq (mirabegron).
Considering urologists are early adopters of technology who thrive on competition and enjoy experiential learning, Astellas and Katalyst designed a booth to create a competitive learning environment. The Astellas Learn & Earn Challenge combined the “wow” factor needed to attract passing urologists and the relevance factor needed to keep them engaged at the booth.
Urologists were placed in competition through a cutting-edge Oculus Rift driving game integrated with the Astellas quiz game. The highly visible leaderboards featured within the booth heightened the need to beat others’ scores. “Winning” in this instance was particularly meaningful as the scores contributed to the philanthropic part of the challenge, which donated money towards the Urology Care Foundation.
Over the four day conference, the innovative booth successfully cut through the noise with more than 850 games played and more than 1,200 interactions. Meanwhile, the average engagement time was three minutes—that amounted to six hours of continuous playtime throughout the conference. Getting urologists to stop by once was a challenge, but the average number of races per visitor at the booth was a 1.38—meaning repeat engagement was high.
As one of our judges says, “The use of cutting-edge technology, combined with gamification, demonstrated how to engage the HCP on three different brands was truly impressive.”
Interactive Marketing Program
The team at Shire was aware that Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.) carries with it some common misperceptions, such as the idea that all adult patients with B.E.D. are obese and females. They wanted a campaign that would further educate physicians about B.E.D. and remove hesitation, confusion, or misperceptions that may exist surrounding the condition or its diagnosis.
The Healthcasts program was designed and executed in three phases. First, was an unbranded KOL roundtable video, “Expert Perspectives on B.E.D.: Recognition and Diagnosis in Adults.” The video clearly informed physicians that B.E.D. is included in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
The next phase leveraged learnings from an analysis of the KOL roundtable video that revealed a strong need for physicians to better identify patients. Healthcasts developed a Patient Profile “Snapshot,” which was used to clear up common misperceptions about a B.E.D. patient’s age, BMI and the disease’s greater prevalence among males. In the final phase, they re-engaged the targeted physicians by testing how well they could diagnose a patient in the “B.E.D. in Adults Clinical Challenge.”
The complete program delivered over 37,000 total engagements among PCPs and Psychiatrists on the Shire target list. Key learnings leveraged at each touch point helped Shire to both evaluate the success of the tactics, and inform strategic decisions.
Specifically of note were the lifts in physician education and intended action:
- After engaging with the patient profiles, there was a 21-percentage point lift in physicians who say they are “extremely likely” to recognize a B.E.D. patient.
- And, 85% of physicians say that after engaging with the profiles, they would discuss them with staff to further B.E.D. education.
HCP level data delivered on the program revealed the propensity of misdiagnosis among targets, and specifically identified which physicians were more likely to have misdiagnosed the condition as Bulimia Nervosa.
Teva Pharmaceuticals, Intouch Solutions, and Rx Mosaic Health kicked-off the You Don’t Know Jack About MS® campaign featuring Jack Osbourne almost four years ago. The vision was to start a new conversation about multiple sclerosis (MS)—to dispel myths, educate, and help patients manage their disease. To bring a personal connection to the program, Jack shares his journey and experience with MS to emphasize the importance of patient and family support and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
In response to the evolving needs of the community, You Don’t Know Jack About MS® evolved and became an engaging online destination featuring new content, resources, and perspectives. The campaign website was enhanced to provide users with the information they most wanted—personal stories about MS, what to expect when first diagnosed, and detail about the disease. Three new webisodes were also created that spoke to the community’s desire for relatable content from others with the disease.
The You Don’t Know Jack About MS® campaign re-sparked interest in MS education among the community, media, and key stakeholders, which is best illustrated through a meaningful increase in engagement and traffic to YouDontKnowJackAboutMS.com. Following the website enhancement in early 2015, there was a 4x increase in average time spent on the website and a 27% decrease in bounce rate. In addition, the 2015 webisodes on You Don’t Know Jack About MS® YouTube Channel averaged 280K+ views each—among a U.S. patient population of 400K.
Knowing what needs to be done is rarely enough—especially for people with obesity. Even though those affected may understand the importance of healthy eating and increased physical activity, they often fall into a cycle in which they try and fail several times and believe it is their own will-power at fault. Beyond understanding the science of obesity and the unfortunate impact weight loss has on appetite signals, breaking this cycle often requires medical intervention and daily, real-world skills—skills to overcome negative thinking, habits, and distractions that interfere with behavior change.
SaxendaCare® is a branded support program designed for patients taking Saxenda®, an injectable prescription medicine that may help some adults lose weight and keep the weight off. SaxendaCare® uses evidence-based behavioral strategies to provide interventions in a real-world setting. SaxendaCare® gets patients off to a good start with Saxenda® and helps them build skills related to adherence and lifestyle modification.
Patients receive a welcome kit, which includes a portion plate and a comprehensive Health and Wellness Guide from the Obesity Action Coalition. Throughout the program, weekly emails drive them to an online experience that reinforces key topics by using a skill-building activity, allowing them to practice what they learn. After completing activities, patients are asked to take action and make a commitment to benefit their long-term health. This guided approach allows patients to get the information they need and set small, achievable goals along the way. Patients also receive calls from SaxendaCare® coaches who provide additional, guided support as they work toward making lifestyle changes to reach their goals.
Early results from the program are positive. Enrolled patients demonstrate greater adherence than those who are not enrolled. To date, the SaxendaCare® program has impacted more than 30,000 patients by supporting real-world success with medication and lifestyle changes.
Point of Care
ContextMedia:Health was willing to put its money where its mouth is when it came to point of care—a lot of money. The company recently invested $100M into the development of new and existing technologies at the point of care and during the past year, set that investment into motion, adding several products to its suite, including Patient Mobile Connect and the Infusion Room Tablet.
Product design for these products required ContextMedia:Health to create a standard medical regulation review that was passed faster than most other innovations in the marketing space. For instance, Patient Mobile Connect went from drawing board to product launch in a period of just over four months.
The Infusion Room Tablet was designed with support from cancer support organizations, such as Imerman’s Angels and the American Cancer Society, to truly address the infusion room patient experience. The device offers access to new-release movies, patient and caregiver support resources, guided meditation and yoga programs, educational resources, and inspirational survivor stories.
Patient Mobile Connect offers brands the ability to reach patients on their personal mobile devices using the in-office WiFi. After opting to access the office’s WiFi, a brand message is delivered in its entirety, according to geography, down to the specific exam room.
Based off data collected from the tablets, the average patient will have 1.7 brand impressions per tablet interaction. Additionally, according to data collected by a third party, 75% of patients on average recall sponsor brands on ContextMedia:Health platforms, 62% of patients discuss sponsored brands with their physician during visits. As a result, sponsor brands experience an average 6:1 ROI from marketing on ContextMedia:Health platforms.
Otsuka and Lundbeck joined forces for the successful launch of an atypical antipsychotic in 2015. The team’s efforts and proactive planning allowed their sales force to go into market at launch with key selling materials that included a fully branded core visual aid, a dual-dosing guide, and a wide range of multichannel, HCP-facing tactics.
By the end of 2015, after just five months in market, brand recognition and sales numbers continued to show growth.
Professional Website/Online Initiative
These days everyone loves content they can access on-demand. This is especially true of physicians who have less time to spend with reps and may prefer to access information on their own time anyway. AskNow was developed to provide HCPs with the opportunity to connect with Novartis on their terms—when they want, how they want, and where they want.
In order to best provide HCPs with exactly what they want, AskNow leveraged multiple rounds of quantitative and qualitative research to understand the modes of connectivity preferred by HCPs. A functioning prototype was developed to observe: Use cases: (What rep services did HCPs need? What were the most popular communication vehicles for obtaining those services?), Accessibility: (Were the paths to solutions quick and intuitive?), and Roadblocks: (What challenges did HCPs encounter? Did any unforeseen technical issues arise?)
One area that needed focus before it went live: User experience. Havas Lynx worked with Novartis to ensure the front-end design was optimized to streamline the process of connection, the ease of access to the platform, and several other overall improvements, such as a simplified login process. Later, after launch, they simplified this process even further by removing the requirement for HCPs to enter any information and relying on trained service reps known as AskNow Specialists to verify the HCP once the connection was made. They also modified the Adobe Connect experience via an upgraded license in order to make the user experience more engaging.
More than 200 interactions have occurred on the platform since launch, with approximately 50+ engagements per month. More proof of success: AskNow is now being leveraged beyond Entresto and will be expanded to other Novartis brands.
Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) was seeking an innovative platform to disseminate Praxbind’s mechanism of action (MOA) across channels (global conferences + field reps). Rather than resorting to traditional formats like brochures, eDetails, or iDetails, they sought to harness an emerging medium that would help differentiate their product and deepen engagement with core content.
BI partnered with Confideo Labs, creators of DoctorVirtualis, a first-to-market virtual reality (VR) platform. Confideo Labs re-imagined Praxbind’s legacy 2D MOA into an immersive 360° virtual reality experience. Despite VR’s momentum and adoption in other industries, the brand knew that if they acted quickly they would be one of the first to leverage virtual reality at medical conferences and in the field, pioneering the VRDetail with their field reps.
The Praxbind VR MOA was so compelling that medical professionals stayed in the VR goggle from start to finish. Creatively, Confideo Labs applied techniques to focus the eye on targeted brand messages across the immersive environment. The result was a clean, interactive, and educational experience, differentiated from typical MOA videos, helping Praxbind elevate interactions with its audience.
The campaign debuted on Samsung Gear VR headsets at the American College of Cardiology Conference, where the team engaged close to 400 medical professionals. At many points during the conference, a queue of physicians were waiting to explore the VR MOA. One sales rep said, “When many of the participants finished with the experience, they were interested in giving feedback on both the technology and especially the content. This created some great opportunities for conversation that would not have happened otherwise.” In the field, more than 600 brand reps were armed with branded Google Cardboard 2.0, providing medical professionals convenient access to the VRDetail.
“Anything but Typical.” That’s the mantra Sentrix adopted following two years of growth in which revenue quadrupled and the size of the agency more than tripled. The mantra became the centerpiece of everything they do, from creative development to team structure and client relationships. It was also the inspiration for the creation of a provocative self-promotion campaign that captures the essence of the agency and promotes their culture and thinking.
To plan for this new campaign, Sentrix conducted a full audit of healthcare and consumer advertising agency self-promotion to determine what success looks like. They concluded that funny and provocative ads were among the most memorable. The art team took a photograph of the inside of a bathroom stall and recolored it to match Sentrix branding. They then used the copywriter’s actual handwriting for the headline: “For the best creative you’ve ever had, call Sentrix.” The execution is simple and clear, yet powerful and memorable. One of our judges even said, “Loved the bathroom graffiti ad—risky, but very clever.”
To Sentrix, the ad represents their pursuit of a high-caliber creative product that is unique and unexpected. While every agency tries to say they’re different, Sentrix aimed to prove it with a campaign that communicates their difference quickly and in an amusing manner for maximum stopping power and memorability.
The launch of the new campaign coincided with the launch of their new, responsive agency website. The ad ran in numerous industry magazines and generated buzz on LinkedIn. The new website resulted in a 250% increase in traffic and a rapid spike in new business and employment inquiries—a 145% increase in web-generated emails in the first two months.
Social Media Campaign
It wouldn’t be surprising if you had never heard of acromegaly. This rare hormonal disorder affects about three to four people per million each year causing frequent headaches, fatigue, excessive sweating, and a gradual yet progressive enlargement of the hands, feet, and facial features. Given the rarity of the disease, many patients experience symptoms for several years before receiving an accurate diagnosis from their doctors, due in part to an overall lack of awareness and available information. Even after diagnosis, up to 45% of patients fail to achieve adequate control of their disease—despite treatment—due to significant knowledge gaps surrounding biochemical control and the need for routine hormone level monitoring.
Novartis wanted to address this lack of awareness and knowledge in an effort to support these rare and underserved patients and retained Ruder Finn to develop and execute the “Straight Talk Acromegaly with Froggy” communications campaign focused on targeted engagement with the online acromegaly community. At the center of the 2014 campaign was Froggy, co-host of the well-known Elvis Duran and the Morning Show and acromegaly patient spokesperson, who was willing to speak candidly about his experiences living with the disease to help reach other patients dealing with similar challenges. Based on the success of the program, Novartis decided to take it to the next level in year two.
In 2015, the campaign rolled out a series of complementary disease awareness tactics, including a dedicated online patient resource page on the unbranded Acromegalyinfo.com educational website and increased social media awareness tactics via Novartis’ and Froggy’s Twitter.
The campaign reached an audience of more than 78 million and was able to directly engage the online acromegaly community in meaningful conversation. They also received more than 50,000 views of their digital educational videos and a Twitter audience of more than 4.5 million via tweets issued by @FroggyRadio and @Novartis.
Caregivers are almost treated like the stepchild of the healthcare world. Everyone is focused on patients, the doctor, and the payer, with little attention paid to the caregivers. And yet, over 65 million people in the U.S. are caring for someone who is ill, disabled, or elderly. They are the unpaid, unsung heroes of healthcare, who have never truly had a voice—until now.
The Bloc set out to better understand the day-in-the-life experiences of caregivers through ethnographic research of six caregivers at various stages of the caregiving journey. Caregivers included in these interviews ranged from those caring for patients with chronic diseases, to caregivers who were dealing with terminal illness, and even included a caregiver who was in the reflection stage due to the loss of his loved one.
As a result, Caregivers Speak Up was developed as an industry first—an integrated social platform that would put caregivers at the center of a community where they could share their hopes, fears, setbacks, and triumphs and also realize that they weren’t alone. At the heart of Caregivers Speak Up is a Facebook page that features a documentary film, stories contributed by visitors to the site, and several short videos that bring powerful personal experiences to life. The site also provides resources and support for caregivers.
In the nine months since launch, Caregivers Speak Up now has more than 10,000 followers/likes on Facebook and 2,255 on Twitter. Facebook posts have received more than 90,000 likes, more than 1,500 comments, and almost 4,000 shares. At last analysis, the total reach of The Bloc’s social tactics was more than three million, with more than 2.85 million total impressions. In a broader sense, the caregiver has been moved from the sidelines to an essential part of the healthcare conversation.
Many patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation (IBS-C) and Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC) have stopped looking for treatment options. They have grown tired of being stuck in a cycle of recurring symptoms even after trying treatment after treatment after treatment. Allergan, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, and FCB Health needed to make sure that LINZESS wasn’t just the next treatment patients ignored. It needed to cut through the clutter of OTC laxative ads and the repetitive advice these sufferers are getting, giving them a reason to seek out a treatment from their doctor.
The “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” campaign was focused on providing patients with new information that they haven’t heard a million times. It is also the first pharmaceutical campaign to use a specialized stop motion technique. Combined, those two aspects grabbed the attention of IBS-C and CIC patients.
The keen level of detail that went into creating each and every frame of the commercial also exemplifies the skill that went into its production. It is almost like a professional art project. Paper and fabric are really lakes, tennis courts, and boats! Chandelier crystals are water, and cotton balls are clouds. Furthermore, stop motion is cleverly designed so that it’s impossible to predict what will happen next, keeping the viewer interested, something that’s a challenge in traditional pharma commercials.
But viewers definitely were interested. The in-market ad tracking with the spot is showing a 14-point growth in “intent to talk to doctor” over the previous year—after just two months on air. Over that same time, New to Brand prescription volume is up 14.7%—an all-time high. Additionally, TRx volume is up 12% versus the start of the new campaign.