Seismic Shift in Pharma Makes Brand Marketers Ask, Should I Be Down with NPP?

There is a “seismic shift” to NNP (non-personal promotion), or non-rep delivered product promotion, taking place in the pharmaceutical industry. Specialties such as psychiatry, pediatrics, and gastroenterology have been significantly impacted. The result is marketing budgets are being reapportioned to social, mobile/apps, and digital marketing.

MM&M reports: Pharma is not in the business of fixing things that ain’t broke. It takes a seismic shift to force the industry to rethink its historical organizational structures and to replot its tried-and-tested road maps for commercial success. And that’s exactly what this represents.

HCPs are now blocking sales-rep access in swathes—some voluntarily, others under orders from above. According to ZS Associates’ AccessMonitor survey, only 51% of all prescribers are now accessible to reps, down from 78% in 2009. For some specialties, such as psychiatry (41%), pediatrics (45%) and gastroenterology (47%), the numbers are even worse.

An emerging key contributor to this trend is the fact that unprecedented numbers of prescribers are now employed by medical groups, many of which implement no-see policies on behalf of their employees. “It used to be that most physicians were independent businesspeople who always fought for what was best for the patient,” says Rich Daly, managing partner, RavineRock Partners, and former president, US diabetes, AstraZeneca. “But the power of the employer, the payer, the PBMs—they have changed the dynamic and others are now calling the shots.”

Whereas NPP’s role was once to complement field sales efforts—and perhaps pinch-hit for reps in the twilight innings of certain brands—it has since taken on a far greater significance as a tool kit for filling sales force gaps. But now that those gaps have become gaping holes, might we be approaching a watershed moment where an NPP strategy might actually supersede the sales force?

With respect to balancing the mix of calls and NPP, Daly, who has also held senior executive roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Takeda, believes pharma companies could be making better use of the data they collect. “We’ve had big data in pharmaceuticals for decades. We’re drowning in it,” he says. “But what about the big insights? If you have great analytics and derivative insight then you know whether a drug is likely to be concentrated at launch or if the uptake will likely be slow, and plan accordingly. Nobody ever gets fired in pharma for doing what everybody else has always done.”

That said, there is evidence that marketing budgets are being reapportioned. The annual MM&M/Ogilvy CommonHealth Healthcare Marketers Trend Report (MM&M, June 2014) showed signs of a shift in HCP spending toward NPP tactics last year: 63% of marketers reported increased budgets for mobile/tablet apps; 63% reported increased budgets for social media; 51% for digital ads; 48% for websites; and 33% for direct marketing.

“It’s hard to say if it’s a left-pocket-to-right-pocket move,” says Woodland. “But yes, marketing is freeing up dollars from the sales force and redeploying it on NPP.”

“There are more than enough viable addressable opportunities in every channel today,” says Woodland. “If you put in the effort to understand the audience, you get a much more coherent NPP strategy that won’t be a one-dimensional type of program.”

It’s all about choosing the most appropriate mix for the product, audience and market. “I have two children. I love them equally and I treat them equally,” says Daly. “But I don’t treat my products equally. I discriminate brutally. If it makes sense to approach product A with 75% NPP, then go for it. The biggest mistake anybody can make is to treat each product the same.”

Read more here: MM&M: Nothing (Im)personal 


Why It’s Hot: Social, Digital, Mobile/Apps are coming to the forefront in Pharma. It will mostly likely force the FDA to tighten up fuzzy interactive media guidelines in turn providing pharmaceutical companies fruitful opportunities particularly in the social space to engage direct to consumer as well as HCP.


A new Instagram user has created the anonymous ‘DILFs of Disneyland’ amassing in excess of 107,000 followers in 3 weeks. Described as “the happiest place on Instagram,” the account promises to bring followers ‘the hottest dads at Disneyland and California Adventure Park’.

The account has also come to the attention of the international media generating millions of PR dollars for the account, with the account even catching the attention of newspapers in the United Kingdom and Australia as well as the popular digital site Refinery29.

Meanwhile on Instagram #DILF has been used nearly 55,000 times. So, is this a fad or the sign of a new social trend?


For the opportune brand with Dads on their radar this new social media phenomena asks marketers to consider:

  •  From J Crew to Gucci brands have embraced the ‘yummy mummy’, will the ‘Dishy daddy’ be next?
  • Could brands such as Baby Bjorn jump on this trend and turn the necessities of parenting into ‘lust worthy objects’ for the new dad?
  • With parenting digital media and social media platforms focusing on motherhood, how can brands use social media to proactively build stronger relationships with dads?

Samsung “Wall Huggers” Campaign Extended to Airports

Back in early July, Samsung launched a new Galaxy S5 ad calling iPhone users “Wall Huggers” and mocking the iPhone for having a short battery life while touting the battery-saving capabilities of its own newest flagship phone.

This week, Samsung has expanded the “Wall Huggers” campaign to out-of-home advertisements near electrical outlets at major US airports. The ads promotes Samsung’s power-saving feature, an indirect jab at Apple whose iPhone has been widely criticized for having lackluster battery life.


The real power of the marketing message doesn’t just come from that message and its placement near power outlets. The real impact is when consumers are huddled around those outlets in “the wild.”  Not only is Samsung’s message found during a period of active problem solving (finding an outlet), consumers are then tethered to their devices while they charge. This tethering exposes individuals to the marketing messages for much longer periods of time than a traditional advertisement.


Samsung has historically been quite aggressive against Apple.  Prior campaigns have attacked the growing culture of waiting in line for new product releases, what Samsung calls “Screen Envy,” and more.

Why It’s Hot

The “Wall Huggers” campaign is a great example of how aggressive, guerrilla marketing can make a more meaningful impact than traditional tactics. While the campaign is not heavy into digital, Samsung and their creative agency are showing how the right message can come at the right time by innately understanding consumer behavior. Samsung saw their competitor’s weakness and attacked in an interesting, unexpected way. My question is, will we now begin to see more advertisement opportunities around non-traditional locations/fixtures, such as power outlets, water fountains, and restrooms?

Source: MacRumors

Finding Your ‘Future’ Self

Crystal Ball


A few months ago, LinkedIn came to a man named Kurt Wagner with an unusual proposition. How would he like to meet his future self?

The offer came a few weeks after LinkedIn opened its publishing platform, meaning anyone on the service could write a blog post tied to their profile. He was looking for something personal to write about — and that’s when company reps suggested they could identify a user who fit his projected career path, predicting where he might be professionally in five years.

This is what the search yielded:


Why It’s Hot:

LinkedIn does have its eyes on student users. As Roualdes mentioned, it’s the company’s fastest growing user segment. It’s an interesting opportunity for LinkedIn, a chance to move from supporting your career to actually predicting it.


Taco Bell Launches Breakfast on All Fronts

Yesterday, March 27th, Taco Bell launched it’s breakfast menu. The fast food chain’s promotional strategy was deployed through TV, radio ads, in-store point-of-purchase and earned and paid social media and guerrilla tactics.

The TV spots central to the campaign are a blatant poke at McDonald’s, the biggest player in breakfast by a wide margin. Taco Bell located a bunch of actual Ronald McDonalds and got them to proclaim their love for the breakfast menu in the spots.

Over the last week, Taco Bell has sent 1,000 prepaid disposable phones to TB enthusiasts to go on “brand missions,” asking them to post photos on Instagram or tweet posts related to Taco Bell and get rewarded various breakfast-related gifts. In addition, Taco Bell bought its first Instagram Ad to support their #WakeUpLiveMas campaign pushing breakfast.

Taco Bell is also utilized Vine and Snapchat messaging for the breakfast effort, highlighting the brand’s view of these emerging platforms as more than passing fads. The quick-serve player is running Pandora ads as well, while leveraging its branded station on the digital music streaming service. Additionally, Taco Bell president Brian Niccol held a Reddit question-and-answer session on the day of launch to chat with consumers about the breakfast menu.

Why so many different tactical approaches to promotion of the new breakfast menu? Taco Bell CMO Chris Brandt states “Our target is millennials…You have to talk to them where they are. Certainly, our TV spots are very important—but we like to call it ‘the power of the and.’ So it’s not just television anymore given where consumers are engaging, in social and mobile. Therefore, those things are a big part of our campaign.”

Read more here.

TV Spot


Why It’s Hot

Taco Bell demonstrates how there’s no “one size fits all” for marketing campaigns anymore. Different audiences engage and interact with messaging on different channels, so communications plans need to be multifaceted to be effective. Traditional media types are table stakes and brands need to be tuned into their audiences to create platform-tailored and unique strategies for success.