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, marked the introduction of our Digital Pioneer Awards (DPA).


Digital Pioneer Award Winners

2019
2018
2017
2016


2019

How I Fight MS

How I Fight MS

Name of product/campaign: How I Fight MS
Name of company/client owning product/campaign: EMD Serono
Year launched: 2010
Type of media: MOA
Agency producing product/campaign: Greater Than One
Team members:
Pilar Belhumeur, Creative Director
John Mahler, Strategist
Stefan Armstrong, Copywriter
Penny Lam, Account Lead
Christa Toole, SEO
Joe Fullman, Junior Strategist

Goals of product/campaign:

  • To create a “real world” online community of people with MS, where they could share authentic lifestyle information through their own videos to help each other get more out of life with MS
  • To harness the reach of hand-picked social media influencers as a new way of building and maintaining an online community of patients interested in authentic lifestyle information

Description of product/campaign: HowIFightMS.com featured videos, blogs, photos, essays, polls, and even playlists created by 5 hand-picked influencer-patients with MS, with regularly scheduled content updates twice a month. Visits to the site were accelerated when the 5 vloggers posted news about and links to the campaign on their own social media channels (YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter). Their large numbers of followers became regular visitors to HowIFightMS.com. The site enabled visitors to “share” a particular post or “send to a friend,” and it provided a registration option to receive additional premium content and ongoing communications from the vloggers through the “How I Fight MS” eCRM email program.

What made this a special product/campaign: “How I Fight MS” was a pioneer in identifying and working with social media influencer-patients for a disease awareness campaign. It blazed a trail into featuring patient-generated content, and it was the vanguard in meeting a real need for authentic lifestyle information around living with MS (instead of just providing disease state information).

Greater Than One utilized a unique social media strategy, starting with online and social media research, that identified a need for video-based lifestyle content among patients with MS. Capitalizing on the very strong presence of existing MS bloggers, we measured their influence and visibility, narrowed the field to the strongest 12, and recruited the top 5 as featured influencers in the campaign. We nurtured our relationships with them by providing in-person training on videography, content production schedules, communication protocols, and ongoing dialogue.

The “How I Fight MS” website received more than 200,000 visits—representing 70% of the American MS population—and thousands of YouTube views and patient registrations. The campaign also received very positive press from MS advocacy groups and bloggers. About the sponsor of the campaign, EMD Serono, one blogger said, “This is an example of a drug company that is trying to do the right thing by hearing from real MSers about their real experience.”

Awards and honors the product/campaign received:
Interactive Media Award for Best Medical/Non-Profit Website
Interactive Media Award for Outstanding Achievement Community
Hive Award for Best Community Website
Hive Award for Pharmaceutical Blog
Webby Finalist for Reality/Non-Profit Website
ECHO Leader Award
Communicator Award for Interactive Media
Communicator Award of Excellence (Reality)
Communicator Award of Distinction (Health and Wellness)
Communicator Award of Distinction (Health)


Dexilant

Dexilant MOA

Name of product/campaign: Dexilant MOA
Name of company/client owning product/campaign: Takeda
Year launched: 2009
Type of media: MOA
Agency producing product/campaign: AbelsonTaylor
Team members:
Noah Lowenthal
Marissa Ori
Vanessa Ruiz
Kat Burzycki
Donald Hanson
Scott Hansen
Lee Parkel

Goals of product/campaign: Dexilant (formerly Kapidex) was a second-generation proton pump inhibitor, launching in a very crowded market along with Prevacid and Nexium (the legendary Purple Pill). Fortunately, Dexilant’s main differentiator was a clinically meaningful one—two releases of medicine in one pill. This was important, because those pesky proton pumps that produce all that painful acid in GERD are not all “on” at the same time. Some pumps turn on in the morning—those can be controlled with a morning PPI dose. But some pumps don’t turn on till later in the day, and by then, the medicine is beginning to leave the system, causing more pain for the patient. Enter Dexilant – one release of medicine in the morning, and one later in the day to truly shut down acid production all day.

It was a simple story to tell, and educating gastroenterologists about proton pumps turning on and off throughout the day and thereby “escaping” the effects of the PPI, was the focus of our prelaunch market conditioning program.

Dexilant launched at Digestive Disease Week 2009, and the brand went all out building a memorable booth that drove home the idea of two releases, and included a giant building-sized steel stomach. And inside that stomach, at the heart of the booth, was the MOA experience that worked to differentiate Dexilant from the billion-dollar brands already on the market.

Description of product/campaign: Because it was impossible to know whether a gastroenterologist walking into our booth had seen the market conditioning program, we created a “choose your own adventure”-style MOA experience. The moderator prompted the audience to set the level of education that each tour provided. This would allow for a quick reminder for some HCPs, and a more in-depth experience for others. The technology that drove it all was the newly-launched Microsoft Surface Table—a massive, coffee table-sized multitouch platform.

Conference attendees would enter the oversized stomach in shifts and gather around the table where a trained moderator would guide them through the MOA. No two experiences were the same as each crowd would socially decide which part of the stomach they would explore and to which level of detail. They could scroll through the hours in a day and watch proton pumps turn on and produce acid at different times, they could “dose” the drug by placing a physical model of a capsule on the table and “flick” the two types of granules to shut down the early pumps or the later-in-the-day pumps, or they could stimulate even more acid production with a physical plate of food (both physical models had RF tags on their underside that the screen could recognize and launch a particular action).

What made this a special product/campaign: Late 2008 (when production on this project began) was a pivotal year for this type of immersive technology. iPads had just come to market, touchscreens were just hitting the mainstream, and gestures were just being introduced to users—nevermind the novelty of triggering onscreen events with physical objects. Set inside the giant steel stomach in the booth at DDW, the Dexilant Surface MOA was a social learning application that provided a digitally and physically immersive experience. By harnessing the excitement of this new technology, our simple story generated interest beyond expectations—Takeda had to hire “bouncers” for the booth to help with crowd control.

Awards and honors the product/campaign received:
Clio – Silver

Click here to view video




2018

FlexPen

FlexPen

Name of product/campaign: FlexPen
Name of company/client owning product/campaign: Novo Nordisk
Year launched: 2008
Type of media: Website
Agency producing product/campaign: closerlook, inc.
Team members:
Jon Sawyer – Account Director
Andrea Walter – Account Manager
Ali Barrett – Art Director
Dave Reidy – Writing Director
Abby Covert – Information Architect
Pat Conlon – QA
Justin Muggleton – Senior Designer
Holly Grigalunas – Copy Writer
Todd Kneedy – Technical Architect

Goals of product/campaign: Novo Nordisk wanted to create greater awareness of its portable insulin-pen product, FlexPen®. The unique design offered flexibility, ease and independence for people with diabetes. closerlook was asked to help create an online photo contest that would appeal to both current and potential FlexPen users to emphasize the product’s benefits. A secondary goal was to drive increased traffic and membership to Changing Life with Diabetes, the company’s free, online community for people with diabetes.

The contest asked current FlexPen users to submit a photo of themselves and their FlexPens in an interesting location. closerlook used Novo Nordisk’s large patient database to reach out to a variety of potential contest participants.

Description of product/campaign: The challenge allowed for only FlexPen users to submit photos. closerlook recommended broadening the reach of the contest by incorporating several phases of participation. While only FlexPen users could submit their photos, closerlook recommended engaging the general public to vote for the winners. A main contest website would be the home base for the contest. A series of strategically planned e-mails and banner ads would drive traffic to the website.

Because anyone would be able to vote for the winning photos, we also recommended expanding the target audience beyond Novo Nordisk’s database by tapping into a database provided by a popular, diabetes-related website. Advertising the contest on additional websites would help further enhance participation and increase awareness.

What made this a special product/campaign: The campaign received more than four million brand impressions and the contest photos were repurposed in Novo Nordisk public-relations efforts.

Having strengthened the relationship between FlexPen users and the FlexPen brand, and increased general awareness of the ease and mobility of FlexPen, the contest campaign was a success.

Awards and honors the product/campaign received: Global Awards


Singulair

Singulair

Name of product/campaign: Singulair AR: Build-a-Patient
Company/client owning product/campaign: Merck
Year launched: 2007
Agency producing product/campaign: JUICE Pharma Worldwide
Team members:
Joan Wildermuth, Debbie Valle, Phil Scherer, Karl Schempp, Laurie Frasier, Ben Surette, Michael Kaminski, Hector Lopez, Leslee Epperhart, Brian Purcell, Erika Maas

Goals of product/campaign: Singulair needed to engage and make its unique MOA relevant. For a “nuisance condition” like allergic rhinitis, getting an HCP’s attention was challenging, and making the product top-of-mind as an Rx choice for a wide range of patients was even more so. This detail helped to achieve those goals in a memorable way.

Description of product/campaign: Built for tablet PC, the interactive detail allowed HCPs to choose a patient type and define the clinical concerns that were most relevant to them. 32 unique patient portraits enabled the user to select any of 4 ethnicities, 4 age groups as well as gender. An array of scientific and clinical data was presented in animated modules designed to foster conversation.

What made this a special product/campaign: Before “personalization” was a buzzword, this detail facilitated conversations that were specific to an individual doctor’s patient cohort and clinical concerns. Selecting a patient created moments of delight, and the extensive use of animation throughout made the experience truly engaging. At the time, it was a groundbreaking tool.




2017

Rozerem

Rozerem

Name of product/campaign: Rozerem
Name of company/client owning product/campaign: Takeda Pharmaceuticals
Year launched: 2006
Type of media: website
Agency producing product/campaign: Abelson Taylor
Team members:
Scott Hansen – Creative Director
Noah Lowenthal – Associate Creative Director
Marissa Ori – Copywriter
Vanessa Donley – Art Director
Ben Murphy – Developer
Cindy Stone – Account Director
Jeanine Koch – Account Supervisor

Goals of product/campaign: Beat Goliath…Ambien dominated the insomnia market like few products ever have. Our goal was to introduce a new way of thinking about sleep, and to introduce Rozerem as a new option for the treatment of insomnia. In order to take down Goliath, Rozerem needed to spend BIG. $200 million in broadcast media spend big.

With millions of eyeballs being driven to the website we had to ensure that we provided a seamless, immersive brand experience with absolutely no tradeoffs.

And we had to invent the technology to do it!

Description of product/campaign: Rozerem.com gives patients and consumers easy access to detailed information about Rozerem and educates them on how sleep works and the topic of insomnia, while including entertaining, yet educational aspects to the website to encourage the user to return to the site and learn more.

What made this a special product/campaign: So…we created a video-based site for the launch of the brand.

The problem was that at the time, streaming video was about as easy as pushing an elephant through a garden hose. ‘Choppy’ and ‘spooling’ were two adjectives that summed up the experience for almost everyone watching video on the web.

In order to combat that, we created technology that broke the video packets into smaller, easier to deliver bits. This allowed us to simultaneously load 49 separate videos on the home page in order to seamlessly introduce the Rozerem “Your Dreams Miss You” campaign to the World Wide Web.

This proprietary technology allowed us to extend the conversation between Abe Lincoln, the Beaver, and Doug the insomniac, in an utterly charming interface that was the first of its kind.

And we struck a nerve. In the first 6 months Rozerem.com received over 2 million visits. Many of whom ended up playing chess with the beaver…

Awards and honors the product/campaign received:wwwHealth Awards: Silver, World Wide Web Health Awards: Silver, DTC Nationals Most Innovative Campaign: Bronze


Blaxin

e-Merge

Name of product/campaign:Zetia e-Merge Program
Company/client owning product/campaign: Merck and Co.
Year launched: 2005
Agency producing product/campaign: TBWA\WorldHealth (formerly CAHG)
Team members:
Dr. Bill Marovitz – Chief Science Director
John Glen – Digital Strategist
Mike Banner – Account Director
Holly McGregor – Account Supervisor
Copywriter – Jeff Hughes, Creative Director, PhD.

Goals of product/campaign: In 2004, Merck and the Zetia Brand Team wanted to develop a non-personal treatment education program to target cardiologists and primary care physicians who frequently treat patients with cholesterol issues. The program objective was to demonstrate that adding Zetia to a patient’s existing statin regimen is a more effective treatment for getting patients to their cholesterol goal than titrating their existing regimen to the next highest dosage.

Description of product/campaign: CAHG developed a program that utilized the authority of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to demonstrate the advantages of adding Zetia to a patient’s existing statin regimen. CAHG designed and developed a proprietary online solution, called eMerge, that targeted and recruited physicians online and invited them to engage and learn about the advantages of add-on Zetia treatment.

eMerge was an online proprietary portal site where targeted physicians were invited via email to review a series of three KOL-hosted patient case studies that utilized both a KOL video component and a multiple choice question format where peer response was displayed. The case studies were intended to utilize KOLs to establish legitimacy and peer response to modify physician behavior.

Part of the eMerge program was based on the “Delphi Method” developed by the Rand Corporation in the 50s, The Delphi Method solicits the opinions of experts through a series of carefully designed questionnaires interspersed with information and opinion feedback in order to establish a convergence of opinion.

Each case study demonstrated Zetia’s superior add-on treatment outcome when patients needed to meet their cholesterol goals. When participating physicians answered each multiple-choice question, their answers were compared to the answers of their peers who previously participated in the eMerge program. Although each multiple choice answer was a viable treatment option, the KOLs provided what they considered the most appropriate answer that highlighted Zetia’s superiority. Each answer was compared to those of peers, so participating physicians were able see the KOL’s treatment opinion and how other physicians answered. From those compared responses, physicians learned what was the appropriate treatment option. The program demonstrated a physician who answered case #1 in a certain way would revisit and perhaps change their responses by case #3 due to the influence of the KOLs and their peers.

What made this a special product/campaign: In 2005, pharmaceutical companies were stepping up their exploration of how to connect and engage physicians on behalf of their brands. The companies were very active forming internal CRM departments trying to find and engage physicians to develop and secure long-term relationships. It was no coincidence that it was a time when physicians were getting more active on the Web, searching and engaging relevant content online. Online access and download speeds were getting better, and so was the quality of relevant health content for physicians. It was the year SERMO® launched that allowed physicians to seek out and engage their colleagues through a number of different online programs at the site, if only to ask a simple question about a treatment approach for their patients. Because of these improvements, physicians were rapidly gaining confidence in their abilities to access the Web and engage audiences like colleagues, pharmaceutical companies, and third-party portal sites. with all of this momentum pushing more physicians online it seemed like a good time to introduce a program like eMerge. However, it was also a time when many pharmaceutical companies, physician portals, and other third-party companies were vying for the same physician audience.

There are many reasons why eMerge was a special program. The first and most important was the unique physician recruiting practice. Utilizing top KOL Cardiologists, whom other prescribing cardiologists and primary care physicians look to for their expertise in statins and treating cholesterol issues in patients, were personally inviting physicians to participate. That led to excellent open and engagement email rates, especially when so many Pharmaceutical companies were connecting with physicians via email.

Second, as already mentioned, we used the Delphi Method already mentioned. It’s believed to be the first time this method was used online, and with physicians to assist in developing a response and a convergence of treatment opinion.




2016

Rogain

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 st
  • 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.


The Physician’s Internet Tutorial

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.



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