Last week, Mark Senak (Eye on FDA) did a great interview called J&J and Social Media-How did they do it? A conversation with J&J.
Mark interviewed two of J&J’s social media experts: Marc Monsear, Director of Corporate Communications for Social Media and responsible for the JNJBTW corporate blog and Rob Halper, Director of Video Communications who oversees the J&J Health channel on YouTube. They both spoke about how J&J approached social media with ‘baby steps’ (no pun intended to their baby business).
While all their efforts to date have been unbranded, and more about building the corporate name and widening stakeholder communications, J&J’s social media efforts operate in areas where J&J has an operating business e.g. Facebook for ADHD moms.
(In this case just three clicks away to Concerta via McNeilPediatrics home page which speaks to their leadership position in ADHD, another click to learn more about ADHD, then an opportunity to click to Concerta…)
Given the regulatory concerns surrounding social media for pharmaceutical brands, the push into branded pharmaceutical social media has been much slower than some other industries.
But recently, AZ just kicked off a new branded asthma testimonial site on YouTube for its Symbicort brand called My Asthma Story: Everyone with asthma has a story to tell. We’d like to hear yours.
The AZ YouTube channel and “vlog” (video blog) offers real patients a chance to ‘tell their story’ and other patients to engage with ‘others like them’ –though there will not be an opportunity for consumers to comment on the video stories…
The YouTube site also directs consumers to myasthmastroy.com where Symbicort users are invited to upload videos about their own experiences with Symbicort.
According to MM&M and Dana Settembrino, senior brand communications mangager at AZ, the videos submitted on myasthmastory.com will be reviewed by a panel of legal, regulatory and compliance experts, with their selections appearing on the Symbicort Youtube channel.
To me, the guidelines for video submission are clearly outlined on the YouTube site. — Hats off to the AZ team and their agency Digitas
General Rules Governing Video Submission:
- You must have uncontrolled asthma
- You must be 18 years or older
- Your video should capture your personal stories/experiences about controlling your asthma. You cannot mention any medications you have used by name, or talk about any side effects you may have experienced. (You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA by visiting FDA.gov/medwatch or calling 800-FDA-1088.)
- Do not show any brand names or trademarks in your video (for example, a logo on a t-shirt)
- Refrain from the use of profanity
- Selected submissions will be posted on the “My Asthma Story” channel within 8-12 weeks of submission
- Selected submissions may be edited by Sponsor prior to posting on the “My Asthma Story” channel due to Pharmaceutical Industry guidelines and Food and Drug Administration regulations. Selected submissions may also be used for other purposes
- Limit one submission per person
- Videos that do not comply with the video specifications or any other requirements stated herein will not be accepted
- All videos submitted will become the property of Sponsor and will not be returned
Recently, Sanofi Aventis also launched a YouTube channel Goinsulin to ‘tell the truth about insulin through the stories of people with diabetes’ (though this effort is entirely unbranded).
And there is Sharing Mayo Clinic: a blog offering testimonial stories from patients, families, friends and Mayo Clinic staff. The Mayo Clinic, like J&J, has been outfront in healthcare social media.
Given the current political environment and potential regulatory and consumer mishaps that can quickly arise in social media, it makes sense for pharmaceutical marketers to move with calculated, baby steps–part of a broader, well thought out strategy that also includes an authentic commitment to engagement, education and learning…
The ‘slow and steady’ pace in pharmaceutical and healthcare social media is sure to continue…as noted in my blog Who’s using social media to stop the spread of peanut butter fear?–even the CDC and FDA are engaging Twitter and Facebook….
To be continued…any other thoughts you’d like to share?