While searching for articles about the use of Social Media on promoting brands, I saw this post “Dynamics of Medicine Promotion Online and Offline” by Janette Toral. Aside from giving some standard practices of the industry, it also gave some practical cases on the usage and misuse of the social media/e-commerce platform. As I’m new to the blogging and social media influencing arena, I find it quite a good resource for learning.
Here are some of the important learnings that I picked up:
According to the blog post author, consumers now are more aware because of social media and they don’t just accept claims easily. Consumers like the social media because they can voice their opinions and participate actively. They can like, put comments, share, agree or disagree. This is a better form of awareness than those chain/forwarded e-mails giving you help tips or warnings that are not even verified so I classify gossips e-mails.
Also she cited the example of the DOH initiative to re-phrase labels to state “no approved therapeutic claims” to “Mahalagang Paalala: Ang (name of product) Ay Hindi Gamot At Hindi Dapat Gamiting Panggamot sa Anumang Uri ng Sakit”. Although the changing of the labels did not get implemented, it created an awareness for consumers that these products are supplements and not medicines.
Building Community Works Better Than Gimmicks
The post cited an examples of a loyalty program that uses accumulating points by entering codes from purchased items online and getting rewards. However, the data gathered in the promo was used by the company to make sales/survey calls which ticked her off.
The post linked to another post on the use of common social media campaigns to promote medicines that relies on contest and the likes.
She believes that building communities revolving around the product is much more effective. She cited the example of the Immuvit MetaFit Challenge that led her to eventually joined the FITFIL community.
Branding Strategies Adopted by Pharmaceutical Companies and Consumers Reactions
The post mentions also on how customers reacts to and how the brands are positioned and promoted.
She cited these interesting examples:
Natural/Herbal vs Synthetic Medicine
The Ascof/Plemex (Natural) and Solmux (Synthetic) media war happened on both online and offline domains. Allies were sought on both domains, traditional and online: opinion columns, blogs, newspapers, online news, TV, Youtube. Both campaigns targeted “civilian” customers. Tactics were used including “Dirty” ones which does not have any regards for “collateral damage”. People took sides.
Pain Relievers: Safe or Not
Biogesic had a campaign of stressing that it is safe to use. Her concern was that it opened a question but it didn’t answer the question – but simply referring to its brand. Generally, in the right dosage and occasional use, it is safe. However, wrong usage can also lead to adverse side effects.
The lack of online information could also be concern for medicine brands about their safety. The post cited the Saridon example. This should be addressed by brand managers.
The blog cited Saridon advertisements as it uses slapstick style of comedy to get their message across
Here are the two videos cited:
I can tolerate the stamping on the head ad. That’s not too violent in my opinion. I can compare it somewhat like the Tom and Jerry or the Looney Tunes cartoon level of “violence”. However, the one with the nails seems to have gone overboard in illustrating the pain. Although, there is a warning, it think it still unacceptable.
I have seen another ad that illustrates pain but not violent in my opinion, the Micanazole ad:
But of course, it’s still a bit graphic. Maybe a facial expression of pain would have done the job anyways.
Like the author of the blog, I’m not too keen on this type of violent or graphic ads. It maybe effective in getting the message across but it might be dangerous to gullible minds of children. I saw another blog post from a different author that shares the same concern.
Lessons and Thoughts
In quest of more knowledge about social media influencing, the blog post was quite useful especially it gave some practical examples. In addition to the technical or instructional aspects of branding, marketing and social influencing, it reminded me also of the ethics that I should adopt. As Stan Lee said through the Spiderman saga, “With great power comes great responsibility”!
What do you think about how companies in the Philippines advertise both on online and traditional media in terms of responsible advertising? I would love to hear your comments, reactions and even suggestions on how do you think Philippine companies should/can be responsible in promoting their products.