Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pfizer’s Digital Campaign Puts Youthful Spin on Aging

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Are you afraid of losing your car keys and then driving around looking for them?  If so, you might be the perfect candidate for Pfizer’s Get Old campaign.  Launched in 2012, the idea behind this program is to take a topic which many are reluctant to discuss and bring it into a forum where people are comfortable talking about it while adding some “wit and wisdom” along the way. 

The initiative recently expanded into social with the introduction of their “fear of getting old” theme and the #FOGO hashtag.  The acronym perfectly suits the 20-30 year old demographic Pfizer is looking to reach with this campaign.  Sally Susman, who is overseeing the project for Pfizer, explains that the introduction of some humor “will be a new and dynamic part of this campaign.”

Visitors of are urged to “Fear less. Live longer,” as well as "Spend less time worrying about getting old so you can actually enjoy it.”  There’s also a #FOGO quiz as well as video clip with two children touted as “experts” in FOGO. 

Pfizer FOGO Get Old Mt. Everest
This particular FOGO? Having to rename your stairs Mt. Everest

The ultimate goal of the campaign is to increase brand favorability and engage consumers more than anything.  According to Pfizer, there was a 55 point spike in brand favorability among those who visited the site last year.  Interestingly enough, the only Pfizer branding is hidden at the footer of the page.  Said Susman, “This is not about selling a product, it’s about our philosophy, reintroducing ourselves… [the goal is] a steady sense of engagement, not over-marketing or overselling.”

Explained Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, a research and brand-loyalty consultancy, in a NY Times article, “Pfizer is one of those companies that everyone has heard of…but you don’t tell your doctor, ‘I would really prefer to have a GlaxoSmithKline product if I can.’ You’re going to listen to what your doctor says, which is why drug companies spend all that money on advertising to doctors.”

Proof of consumer engagement is not immediately obvious.  Pfizer claims there are 350,000 tweets per month within the “aging conversation” and they’re clearly trying to capture some of this discussion.  However, the Get Old handle (@getold) has more than 24,000 followers and at the time of this blog, there were only 32 tweets under the #FOGO hashtag in the last 24 hours.  In addition, the comment fields on much of the site’s content had very light contributions.

This humorous, sort of ironic approach to bringing a taboo topic into the open seems like a logical method to engage the 20 to 30 year old demographic on social.  However, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of this initiative, particularly the social aspect.  While many continue to call for pharma companies to be more social, this may be another case study (good or bad) to be used in that argument. 

We’ll have more on the latest strategies in digital at ePharma West.  Join us September 22-24 in San Francisco. Download the agenda to see what’s on tap.

SAVE $100 as a reader of this blog. Register now and use code XP1956BLOG. 

This post was contributed by @MikeMadarasz

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