How does your job fit into the advertising process? It starts with the client’s brief. After that it takes roughly 3 weeks to work on the strategy and come up with our pitch. At Havas Life Worldwide, our principal clients are pharmaceutical companies.
In addition to managing the projects I often write the copy for the campaigns. More and more of our campaigns are going digital, but most of our campaigns are print ads.
How do you write good copy? It’s all about your angle – your point of view from which copy is written, especially when the copy is intended to interest a particular audience. Determining your angle involves:
- Knowing your target audience so you know who you’re talking to.
- Researching all relevant information about your product, your competition, and the problems surrounding your product.
- Determining how you want to position your brand.
- Then, boiling it all down into one short sentence and catch phrase you want people to take from the advertisement.
What is an advertising campaign you’ve worked on? Here are two which were translated from French into English:
What are some of the hardest parts of your job?
1.) Getting your copy and take-away message right. Recently I heard an old advertising campaign spot on the radio. The company had spent a lot of time and money creating an advertising campaign trying to get their brand message across. Unfortunately for whatever reason, only half of the intended message got picked up by the press, and it was the half which was not the most important in the campaign.
2.) Coalitions and unions. Pharmaceutical companies as well as doctors and hospitals have their client’s health in their best interest, but also have to understand that their actions affect one another.
3.) Laws governing the advertising of medication in France is very strict and becoming more and more restrictive. For example, pharmaceutical companies cannot advertise prescription medication directly to the patients. Before we begin working on an advertising campaign we must be very sure it doesn’t break any laws. Sometimes really great ideas have to be turned down because they could result in legal problems down the road.
How does one advertise in such a regulated industry? Pharmaceutical advertising campaigns tend to take a two-tiered approach:
- The general population isn’t always well informed about diseases that may affect them. Therefore we organise ‘awareness campaigns’ in the form of magazine quizzes, free-standing projects, posters, and launch informative websites to inform the general public about the disease and encourage them to go to their doctor for check-ups. Then,
- Keep doctors up-to-date on medication the pharmaceutical company offers that can be prescribed for this disease.
With this advertising model, doctors benefit directly from ‘awareness campaigns’, but pharmaceutical companies have no guarantee doctors will prescribe their drug… True, doctors do benefit directly from pharmaceutical companies’ advertising campaigns, while doctors retain the prerogative of presribing whatever medication they see fit. This is why it is in the pharmaceutical companies best interest to keep their brand name in front of the doctor’s eyes.
But bear in mind that all of the pharmeuctical companies have this same limitation, so the market balances out. It’s an expense the industry just has to live with.
How do you perform analytics on an advertising campaign when advertising results have so many variable factors? By tracking the invariables, we can:
- Know how many people in a population are affected by a specific disease. For example 1 out of every 3 males.
- Track press coverage on our awareness campaign
- Track conversion rates for the banner ads as well as traffic to the informative website(s).
- Track sales before, during, and after the awareness campaign.
- Conduct market studies.
Where do you go to for ideas and inspiration? Brainstorming and Art expositions. Take photos and notes and keep track of ideas that inspire you, then later you can refer back to them.
What’s one of your favorite advertising campaigns? I appreciate the Dove Campaign for Beauty because it shows women true beauty and not a photoshopped version of it.
I also appreciate this “I flirted with AIDS” television spot promoting HIV/AIDS awareness:
Advice for someone who wants to do your job? Enjoy what you do and be interested in many different things. In medical advertising you work with a lot of leading doctors and creatives, so you must know a lot about pathology and science.
I have a small advertising budget, any advice?
- Know what you want to say.
- Know your demographic.
- Consider an awareness campaign around your product or service. Create a quiz or provide a questionnaire that engages people and they can learn from, and have your logo at the bottom or ‘for more information visit…’
- Radio is a good media which allows you to speak to a lot of people, and it’s not as expensive as television commercials. Plus you may be able to touch more people in press through radio.
Overall, always shoot to improve the lives of your clients. It’s your responsibility.