In response to a post I made about a branded Levemir tweet made by Charlie via his Race with Insulin account, I received this email message from a personal friend of Charlie's: "I happen to know Charlie ... I think he is a good guy and hate to see him hurt by this incident. I wonder if someone at Novo is adding in the marketing messages ... Charlie made a mistake by letting it go out."
That made me think that perhaps all the Tweets on Race with Insulin were written by Novo Nordisk or their agents. So, I did some research and found out that Charlie has another Twitter account (@charliekimball).
When you compare @charliekimball to @racewithinsulin, you discover a strange parallel universe.
- @charliekimball has 163 followers (I am one) and follows 31 people
- @racewithinsulin has 169 followers and follows 0 people
@charliekimball: "Finished 7th. Made contact with Pippa Mann halfway through after she was a lap or two off the lead. Happy with the result and the points!"Becomes:
@racewithinsulin: "Finished 7th. Very pleased with the result. It was great racing under the lights! Headed back home to California tomorrow."-------
@charliekimball: "Getting ready for qualifying. Still really warm and sunny." and "Qualified 8th. Was a good job for my first time here. Racing at dusk tonight-8CST. 115 lap race- watch it live at http://bit.ly/tU67v"Becomes:
@racewithinsulin: "Qualified 8th. Solid effort for my first time here. It will be a long fun 115 lap race tonight at 8CST."A few of the @charliekimball tweets never make it over to @racewithinsulin.
These include: "In Denver airport on my way home. No one has ABC and the race on. It's all golf! Bleh." and "Just had a great mountain bike ride. 1 hr. 40mins. 20 miles. 1850 feet ascended. Lots of fun!"
More importantly, some tweets made @racewithinsulin never appeared @charliekmball. The most famous one being the branded Levemir ad: "Headed for Iowa Speedway. Just took Levemir®. For Levemir® (insulin detemir [rDNA origin] injection) prescribing info: http://is.gd/15uIl"
That was posted 1:54 PM Jun 18th. A few minutes earlier, at 12:47 PM Jun 18th @charliekimball posted "At LAX headed for Iowa. Ready for the race weekend." No mention of Levemir.
It appears that someone is selecting a sample of Charlie's authentic tweets made @charliekimball, editing them, and adding branded messages to them when necessary.
Is this any way for a pharma brand to carry on an authentic conversation?