Pharmaceutical companies face a difficult year, in the wake of rising costs of medication. But Pfizer, more than others, has experienced especially low ratings. This year, the company ranked lowest out of 14 top pharmaceutical companies. Some speculate that part of the problem rests in Pfizer’s recent attempt to elude U.S. taxes.
To make a comeback, the company changed tactics. Rather than continue the trend of bombarding customers with direct ads showing the superiority of their products, the company decided to build a line of communication between the experts and the public. To do this, it told stories about how drugs go from labs to the market.
An Inside Look
The new PR campaigns feature an inside-look at Groton laboratories by filming some of the processes taking place, and interviewing one of their top scientists; namely, the VP of Pfizer’s Groton Center of Chemistry Innovation, Mark Noe. The resulting video then briefly shows how Pfizer goes about creating drugs, in an attempt to solve human ills.
Rather than take a boring and purely scientific method of explanation, Noe likened the research process to a jigsaw puzzle. This makes it relatable to consumers with no scientific background and draws their attention. The fact the scientist is also a credible source makes him worth hearing.
Boosted by Credentials
It is a known fact that highly trained professionals are behind the making of drugs in the pharmaceutical industry. However, allowing those professionals to take the forefront reinforces this in the public’s perception.
Showing consumers that Pfizer has some of the best in pharma working for the company and that these workers do the best they can to solve real life problems.
The former head of global research and development at Pfizer, John LaMattina, attested to this when he stated: “Scientists had a great effect on the general public because they have a lot of credibility… I refer to it as the Pocket Protector Effect.”
Presenting New Heroes
When people think of heroes in everyday life who save lives, they think of police officers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, and doctors working in the emergency room. But few people think of researchers in this way.
By showing people how researchers in the pharmaceutical industry are also heroes, the public now looks at the company and the work it does differently.
For instance, in the ad, Noe says: “What keeps us going is the fact that we have a very noble mission… It’s an incredible feeling when you know you’ve made a difference in people’s lives.”
Last year, Pfizer spent a whopping $7.7 billion on research alone, coupled with $3.1 billion on marketing its products to customers. There are no numbers yet on how much it will pour into its public relations campaign, but this new approach to reaching the public might reap the results the company wants.
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