Digital Pioneer Award Winners

For decades, medical advertising relied on a tried and true formula of journal ads, direct mail, and collateral materials to communicate information to healthcare professionals.

With the development of digital communications, the industry found a tool perfectly suited for its information-heavy needs. Digital communications allowed more information to be communicated, with access to user-selected materials, interactivity, enhanced graphics, and many of the features of one-on-one personal communications.

Early efforts in this realm were handled by existing creative groups, assisted by a growing cadre of young professionals versed in the growing capabilities of digital communications. As the digital area grew and became more central to communication programs, agencies spun off digital divisions to handle these specialized needs.

The Medical Advertising Hall of Fame has honored the exceptional creative work from this period with its Heritage Ad Awards. With the growth and continuing evolution of digital communications, the organization is expanding its scope to include this newest form of advertising, and is instituting a Digital Pioneer Award to honor early efforts in this arena.

2016, the 20th anniversary of the MAHF, marks the introduction of our Digital Pioneer Awards (DPA). Out of an outstanding crop of submissions for recognition, we have selected the two campaigns that follow to receive our first awards.

The Physician’s Internet Tutorial


Name of company/client owning product/campaign: Roche Laboratories
Year launched: 1996
Type of media: Print/Live Workshops/CD-ROM/Hybrid Media
Agency producing product/campaign: IntraMed Educational Group

Goals of product/campaign:

  • Use the “borrowed interest” of the Internet to provide disease and brand messages
  • Help physicians better understand the value of the Internet for clinical research and education
  • Drive attendance at an annual medical meeting

What made this a special product/campaign: Developed in 1996 when clients were wary about the value and regulatory environment of the Internet, this program managed to gain huge physician adoption without actually creating a website. Rather, we taught physicians how to use the Internet, and in so doing showed them how to do research on topics of importance to our client. We also created a customized online experience in a way that was valuable to physicians while providing a unique communications channel for our client.

Rogaine for Men and Women

Name of company/client owning product/campaign: Pharmacia Consumer Health
Year launched: 2001
Type of media: Website
Agency producing product/campaign: Medical Broadcast Company/Digitas Health

Team members:
Alexandra vonPlato – Executive Creative Director
Mark Nolan – Creative Director
Robby Garfinkel – Art Director
Phil DiGuilio – Designer
Tom Mullins – Copywriter
Steve Cleff – Information Architect
Michelle Kinsman – Project Management Supervisor
Steven Chiles – Account Executive

Goals of product/campaign:

  • Convert interested men and women into Rogaine users through a content strategy or science and style
  • Inspire registration into Rogaine Results, an eCRM program designed to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Motivate enrollment and product purchase through Rogaine Direct, the first direct-to-payment e-commerce site for an OTC product

Description of product/campaign: Rogaine was the first topical OTC product proven to regrow hair. The goal of this assignment was to create a master brand site for both the Men and Women’s Rogaine, to refresh the brand and create content for consumers who were considering trying Rogaine. Two important components of the site were a CRM Program called Rogaine Results designed to support proper usage and manage consumer expectations over the two months of use required before visible results, and Rogaine Direct, the first online direct-to-patient purchasing option for an OTC brand that was meant to blunt the market growth of pharmacy-branded minoxidil treatments available in store.

What made this a special product/campaign: The online version of Rogaine Results was one of the first adherence eCRM programs developed to support proper product use and manage consumer expectations during early treatment. Fifty percent of Rogaine Results registered members, who engaged with the program for two months, used Rogaine twice as long (four months) as opposed to Rogaine users who were not part of the program. Rogaine Direct was the first pharma sponsored e-commerce site for direct-to-patient purchase and fulfillment of product.

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