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Friday, December 17, 2010

Pharma is "Cleverly Navigating" the Social Media Space Says TIME Magazine

"Surprisingly, it's the pharmaceutical industry that's been at the forefront of moving the FDA to issue social-media rules," reports TIME Magazine reporter Steven Gray in a story published online today (see "Drug Companies Take Their Pitch to Social Media — Carefully").

Steven interviewed me for this story and quotes me in this passage: "The companies realize their traditional websites and advertising strategies are no longer sufficient tools to promote products in a competitive marketplace in which doctors, pharmacists and consumers aggressively trade information about medicine on blogs. The companies are also aware that 'if they can't fully participate in the social-media conversation, they get marginalized,' says John Mack, publisher of Pharma Marketing Blog, which attracts about 25,000 industry readers a month."

I thank Steven for this 10 minutes of fame.

Steven's article focuses exclusively on Novo Nordisk's Race with Insulin Twitter campaign (@racewithinsulin), which is described as "one of the most provocative examples of how pharmaceutical companies are cleverly navigating the emerging, largely unregulated social-media space." "Provocative," yes. "Cleverly navigating," not so much. I only need to point out the story about how sanofi aventis not so cleverly launched a Facebook page to debunk that (see "Where's Your Social Media Crisis Management Plan?").

The article is actually a very good PR piece for Novo Nordisk and Race with Insulin. Although I mentioned to Steven my blog post heard about Kimball's infamous branded Tweet heard round the world (see "Novo Nordisk's Branded (Levemir) Tweet is Sleazy Twitter Spam!"), this wasn't mentioned in the article. That particular tweet was not particularly clever, although I agree that it was provocative.

You've no doubt heard from many industry people that the media is out to get them and write negative stories about the drug industry. In fact, that's the kind of story I was expecting Steven to write. He, for example, wanted me to OK his use of the word "provocative" to describe the Race with Insulin social media campaign. The TIME piece, however, is not provocative and does not attack the drug industry for its efforts, which is fine with me. Just remember this the next time an industry executive complains about the media!

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