Saturday, June 09, 2007

Cause Marketing via YouTube: What Pharma Can Learn from Michael Moore

Michael Moore, the creator of the documentary SiCKO (reviewed here), is entering a new realm of politics by soliciting videos from Americans chronicling their healthcare horror stories.

"I got to thinking after finishing the film," says Moore in his video pitch, "now that's there's YouTube, [I have a great chance] to ask those of you who are out there to send me your own healthcare if you videotape your story and send it here, I'll post it [on YouTube] and also take these YouTube videos to our members of Congress ...If we do this, there's a chance to get some action going."

Here's Moore's pitch on YouTube:

Moore posted his video on June 6, 2007 and already it has received over 225,000 views, 171 comments and 14 video responses.

Moore has established a group on YouTube where these videos will be displayed and discussions will be hosted. Find that here (you have to be registered member to access this area).

Together with Oprah Winfrey's "pledge" to hold a televised "Town Meeting" on people's reaction to SiCKO this summer or fall (see "Pharma's Worst Fear Realized: After Seeing SiCKO Oprah Calls for Town Hall Meeting"), this is shaping up to be a political hot potato that presidential contenders on both sides of the aisle must contend with.

What Pharma Can Learn from Moore
It's also an object lesson for pharmaceutical cause marketing.

Merck, for example, could have solicited YouTube videos from parents about their concerns regarding their daughters being infected with HPV. Selected videos could have been embedded in an unbranded web site to promulgate the need for vaccination. These personal stories -- some of which may be from women with cervical cancer -- could have galvanized state legislators to pass mandatory vaccination laws WITHOUT being lobbied in back rooms by organizations secretly funded by Merck.

I know that many pharmaceutical people hate Moore and will reject out of hand any notion that they can possibly learn something from him, but that would be a mistake.

Just a thought.


  1. If you email Moore at, this is the automated response you get:

    The responses are pouring in since the Oprah show. Many more people are sharing their health care nightmares. Congress has got to fix this, and we need your help to do it. Please contact your Congress member immediately and give him or her a piece of your mind. You can find contact information here. [ ] Also, please look up your state or local group advocating for a single-payer health care system and give them your support. Physicians for a National Health Program has physician contacts and chapters in nearly every state. To get involved, visit PNHP at for your chapter's contact information.

    If you have a story to tell, try putting it on YouTube. Use the phrase "health care horror story" in the title so we can find it. We'll post some of these on the brand-new SiCKO website. [ ]

    If you're not already on my mailing list, you can sign up here. [ ] and I'll send you updates.

    Thank you again for your e-mail.

    Together we will all get well soon!

    Michael Moore

  2. Anonymous10:41 AM

    I agree pharma has a lot to learn as far as online communications goes. I am hopeful Moore's film will launch a substantive dialogue where all parties involved can help fix a broken system. Can’t wait to see the movie!

  3. Anonymous4:24 PM

    I found this post to be very interesting.

    It really shows exactly how the use of video sites such as YouTube can implement in a marketing campaign.

    One can now gain insight from people they would never have normally heard from relatively easily.

    excellent post!


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