The Line Between Marketing and Education Begins to Shift
The biggest questions, in my view though, revolve around ethics and value:
Perspectives on leadership, reputation, trust, change, ethics, health and science ©2008-2021 Paul Oestreicher
Working with endorsers can be tricky, though BMS reportedly said that every collaboration, except for this one, had been positive. Indeed, the first celebrity campaign -- for the arthritis drug Voltaren(R) -- gave CIBA-Geigy (now part of Novartis) quite a pain in the late 80s. Baseball legend Mickey Mantle, who wasn't taking Voltaren and didn't disclose the corporate relationship, went about as far off message as one can go by proclaiming the drug can cure hangovers!
The WSJ article gives us some insights on how one can minimize the chances of being surprised and disappointed by a patient spokesperson. Here are some principles for your consideration:
Here's a case where less really could mean more. Fewer shot-gun approaches to advertising and fewer goofy stunts in an attempt to start a discussion may lead us back to more effective communications that improve relationships with stakeholders and enhance industry reputation.
Although the hearts of parents who withhold vaccinations from their children for non-medical reasons might be in the right place, their brains are not. In the "rugged individualism" that many Americans use to define themselves, there is a consequence of putting others in harm's way. Those who are unvaccinated put their communities at a higher risk of disease outbreak.
Now, there's a race to develop another vaccine -- this one against the swine (H1N1) flu. Although no one wants a new disease to contend with, there may be a silver lining -- a chance to reengage the public on the importance of immunizations. No doubt there will be an educational push when the vaccine is available. But at the same time, a campaign should be tied-in to reverse the dangerous growth of vaccination exemptions.
No vaccine is risk-free and not every mind can be changed. Still, the CDC (with their reach and clout), vaccine manufacturers (who can gain sales and reputation) and health care providers (who are a trusted source and carry influence on family health care decisions) should join forces to develop a new dialogue with the public. And let's sustain the discussion, let's put the science and evidence in perspective, and let's build some trust.