Image Courtesy Today.com
In the last week, chances are someone you know has dumped a bucket of ice over their head to raise awareness for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). But a week ago you may not have even known what ALS was. This viral initiative has dared hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions — of regular folks as well as many high profile people like Mark Zuckerberg, Jimmy Fallon, the entire New England Patriots football team and Ethel Kennedy to douse themselves with ice water and generated millions of media impressions. Coverage has included leading broadcast and online outlets – even a live on-air accepted challenge from The TODAY Show’s Matt Lauer.
The #IceBucketChallenge was not propelled into the spotlight with the help of a recognizable pharmaceutical company or celebrity endorsement. Rather, the celebrity falls to regular people and patients like 29-year-old Pete Frates, who set the wheels in motion with his own challenge to a few friends and favorite athletes. The rest is history (or on your Facebook newsfeed).
This movement is not without controversy; with many questioning whether participants are only accepting the challenge to be part of the trend. The true test of the #IceBucketChallenge and viral campaigns like it is whether it can span beyond raising awareness and convert social posts to dollar signs for research and truly #StrikeOutALS. According to a recent interview with PRWeek, there have been a flood of donations to ALSA.org, with $5.7M being raised in the last two weeks alone.
Campaigns like this provide inspiration for other diseases that lack a recognizable celebrity advocate, including multiple sclerosis, lupus and mental illnesses. Parkinson ’s disease, for example, has benefitted from high awareness and research funding because of Michael J. Fox’s goal of eliminating the disease “in our lifetime.” The #IceBucketChallenge proved that you don’t need a recognizable face to attract awareness and funding. You just need a great idea that goes viral. #nopressure.
Image Courtesy of Google
In response to a recent patent filing by Google, a number of online influencers (okay, Search-nerds!) are talking about something we already knew: earned media has a definite impact on organic search rankings.
Like most platform-owners, Google is usually tight-lipped when it comes to the inner mechanics of their algorithm. In the filing, however, a bit of the mystery is revealed: not unlike Facebook, their engine favors high- over low-quality sites. Anytime a brand (or company) is featured in a story on high-quality site, Google counts it as an “implied link.” The more links, the better the ranking.
Reacting to what many are calling an “inadvertent leak,” one watcher stated that “this single-handedly validates all of the PR that you’ve generated for your brand, all of the mentions and citations that you’ve accrued through hard work, great products and reputation, and effective public relations, even if you didn’t necessarily get an explicit link in the coverage.”
In short, PR is the new SEO.
So, if Google views media placements as “implied links,” how do we know whether or not the mentions we’ve secured through “earned” are having an impact? For site owners, there are number of tools that can provide the answer, the simplest (and most common) of which is Google Analytics.
If you’d like to see how many links point to a particular website, or if you’d just like to give Google’s algorithm a kick, try this hack: enter “links:www.sitename.com” into the search bar (minus the quotes, and obviously more descriptive than “site name”) and hit enter.
Image Courtesy of Vine
In case you missed it, Vine has just pushed a rather interesting update that introduces a new feature – Vine Messages – to their platform.
In a nutshell, Vine Messages (or VMs) enables video conversations – one-to-one or one-to-many – with other Vine users. The option can be found in the app’s navigation menu: to send a VM, simply go to the “Messages” screen or tap the “Message” button on a user profile – it’s that simple.
Now here’s where it gets interesting…
VMs aren’t limited to one’s Vine contacts: anyone can send a VM to anyone via email or SMS, even if they’re not part of the Vine community. Seems like an interesting way to engage our followers, crowdsource feedback, invite non-Vine users to connect, etc.
On the flip-side, having the service “open to all” could have darker implications… something to keep an eye on for sure.
This year’s ePharma Summit continued to bring out the best and brightest of the industry to share successes, exchange best practices, and talk about some of the new opportunities that exist where the worlds of digital and healthcare meet.
An exciting technology that presents lots of opportunity for Pharma is wearables. These devices, which range from the almost ubiquitous FitBit, Jawbone, and Nike Fuelband, all the way to Google Glass and the Google contact lens that can detect glucose levels in tears, have been around for a few years, but are really starting to become more mainstream. They were all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show, too. Wearables are turning people into data centers, with a constant stream of information generated daily. Pharma is in a unique position to help make that data meaningful for patients, doctors and research.
While the future value of wearables in healthcare are yet to be fully realized, ZocDoc took a stab at predicting the future:
Wearable tech – An infographic by the team at ZocDoc
At the ePharma Summit there was lots of speculation about the use of wearables– and the data they generate– in health management, adherence, insurance and treatment. While the verdict is out on how to capitalize on this data and technology, this is an area that MMC, and all of Pharma, is going to be following closely. It represents an area for the courageous Pharma executive to lead.
Image Courtesy of Getty
In 1993, Congress passed the NIH Revitalization Act, which directed the NIH to establish guidelines for inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research. Nearly two decades later, it’s surprising to learn that there’s still much to be done to ensure gender equality in biomedical science.
The Brigham and Women’s Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology is spearheading a movement to demand more for women’s health. You see, quality science and treatment for women’s health doesn’t just mean ensuring women are included in clinical trials. Understanding gender differences at a biological and pre-clinical level also translates into better quality of care.
Take heart disease, for example. Research shows that heart disease appears differently in women than in men, and so the gold standard test to identify heart disease for both genders may not work as well or as efficiently in women. Other diseases that are more prevalent in women, or affect females in a different way than males (like lung disease and depression), also require further biological research to truly understand how they present in a female vs. male body.
In the age of technology and advanced medicine, it seems almost antiquated to start research at such a “basic” level. But while science has made great strides, it may be necessary to hone in on this level of research. We could gain a deeper understanding of our bodies, translating into better quality of care.
Next month, the Connors Center is hosting the first national summit dedicated to improving women’s health care. Notable speakers include the Connors Center Executive Director Paula A. Johnson, MD, MPH; U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY); “60 Minutes” Correspondent Lesley Stahl; and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD. Last week, the FDA wrote a blog post about the agency’s history shaping data, drug approvals, and industry guidance to better understand how drugs work differently in men vs. women. For example, in 2011, FDA issued guidance on the study and evaluation of sex differences in medical device clinical studies.
The Connors Center will need to rally these business leaders, industry, policy makers, regulators, academics, and advocacy groups to succeed. More importantly, they’ll need to invigorate an already complicated and crowded conversation about women’s health.
What do you think is most important to achieve women’s health equality?
- NBC Going for the Olympics Coverage Gold – It’s that time again! The world has shifted all focus to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. NBC’s coverage of the London Olympics can either be seen as a massive failure or a huge success, depending on who you ask. Viewers throughout the games shared their complaints, many via the hashtag #NBCfail, which found life in the social sphere. Regardless of viewers’ discontent the Olympics are a powerhouse for NBC—bringing in advertising dollars and a massive audience. This year the broadcast giant isn’t changing much of the format from the London games but they are bringing in new digital elements providing a second screen experience for viewers. According to Mashable NBC execs are following the simple rule – the more Olympics you give people, the more they want. We’ll see how that pans out come closing ceremonies.
- S#@!* Bowl Ad Wins – My fingers are shaking just thinking about typing the word S#@!* Bowl. It has become the running punch line of the “Big Game” ads the past two years, starting with Samsung’s winning ad from last year featuring A-listers Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd (side note: when will we get more from these two)!? Many industry experts praised Radio Shack and Budweiser as this year’s big winners, but my personal favorite was Newcastle’s hilarious Mega Huge Football Game ad which featured Anna Kendrick and didn’t actually air during the game. The perfectly deadpan video features Anna being interviewed about the Newcastle Huge Football commercial that never was. The ad was no-frills which made it the perfect fit for their slogan “Newcastle: No Bollocks.” With millions of views on YouTube to date, I think the non-ad will be a big trend next year as brands fight for the right to play, without the hefty price tag.
- Tonight Show Shake Up (Round Two) – Here we go again, but I think this go around will be a much smoother transition as Jimmy Fallon takes over as host for “The Tonight Show” and Seth Meyers lands the gig at “Late Night.” Historically NBC likes to “keep it in the family” with these types of shifts but as we saw with the Leno/O’Brien debacle that’s not always the best plan. This time around the family mentality might just work. Jimmy has proven to be a late night force and his universal humor and likeability will carry over to the earlier time frame. Meyers is Lorne Michael’s chosen one so no doubt he will succeed. As the long standing head writer for SNL, he has the writing chops to make a name for himself, and impeccable comic timing. Seth Meyers also just secured fellow SNLer Fred Armison to be his band leader! Cheers to a new generation of talent taking the reins.
- Amazon vs. Netflix: The Streaming Battle – The Netflix model is working and others are taking notice and shaking up their own models to compete. Amazon Studios recently launched 10 pilots as part of their second wave of pilots which are intended to directly combat Netflixs’ original series. In an interesting twist they will use viewer feedback to determine which pilots live on for a full season and which ones don’t. Through a deal with 21st Century Fox they have also secured exclusive rights to FX’s thriller “The Americans” and non-exclusive rights to “How I Met Your Mother,” along with other hit series. All content will be available to Amazon Prime members. The price needs to be right but these moves just prove that streaming is everything these days!
Image courtesy of YouTube
Check out some of the top social media campaigns generating attention from last week.
H&M’s Super Bowl ad (you remember: the one that asked consumers to vote on whether or not star David Beckham appeared #Covered or #Uncovered) is still getting attention for its clever use of Social Media and a “T-commerce” platform that made the spot “shoppable” for SmartTV owners… (Source: Today).
In related news, brands like Oreo, Heineken’s Newcastle Brown Ale and Nestlé’s DiGiorno Pizza are among those being recognized for their clever newsjacking efforts during the Big Game… (Source: Digiday).
Old Man Winter has truly been tough on the airline industry these past few weeks. In a scramble to provide support to inconvenienced travelers, one company – JetBlue – has received accolades for their transparent use of Social Media… (Source: BrandChannel).
For their tweet that poked fun at Grammy-winner Pharrell Williams’ hat, sandwich chain Arby’s continues to attract buzz. Touted by real-time marketing experts as a “responsive marketing coup de grâce,” their efforts even merited praise from the likes of Pepsi and Hyundai… (Source: Ad Week).
Ajax has just launched an app that “treats your Social Media presence like a dirty counter.” how you ask? By removing unused content and SPAM from your Twitter feeds and Facebook News Feed… (Source: Fast Company).
If riding shotgun in the Weinermobile is on your #BucketList, you might want to check out Oscar Mayer’s latest Twitter campaign. All who tweet using the hashtag #Tweet2Lease have a shot at that “Grand Prize”… (Source: Ad Age).