During the European Haematology Association 2019 Congress, Celgene released what healthcare professionals referred to as a “tone deaf” advert for their product revlimid. The tweet, which has consequently been taken down, showed a phone with the message “relapse is calling”.
We looked at HCP reactions online and discovered how they responded to Celgene’s marketing, accumulating to overall brand perception. Whilst there were HCPs calling out what they described as Celgene’s “awful” and “shameful” behaviour, especially straight after the campaign launched, we also saw a large proportion of HCPs encouraging their peers and patients to respond online in order to catch the attention of the company to remove the ad.
Celgene quickly acknowledged the online reactions and took the ad down, replying to individual HCPs when necessary. This resulted in HCPs thanking Celgene for their fast action, moving away from critical remarks.
Whilst initially shocked and angered at the ad, HCPs soon came to a position whereby they wanted Celgene to understand what was wrong with the campaign, for the sake of patients and their families who may be upset or offended. They were quick to provide feedback to the campaign, showing that HCPs take interest in what drug manufacturers say and the messages they portray. Consequent responses from brands can strengthen corporate reputation among their customers; companies need to be agile enough to provide these responses, as Celgene was.
The HCP response shows how they care for their patients and are willing to defend them, even in the online space. If pharmaceutical companies are to engage HCPs effectively, they should be empathetic towards the concerns of their customers, discussing topics they care about. In order to do this it is necessary to listen to and understand the HCP voice; social media allows for this in an unprompted and organic fashion.
The final lesson from this campaign is to be aware that public content really is public. Once something hits social media it is accessible to huge global networks of individuals from all backgrounds. For marketing to be truly targeted, the correct channels must be used.
CREATION Pinpoint® isolates the voice of healthcare professionals online in order to discover what HCPs think.