Drug companies have new top salesmen: doctors. According to the Wall Street Journal, hiring a doctor to speak about drug therapies to other doctors has proven to be a "highly effective" way for the pharmaceutical industry to market its drugs. "An internal study done by Merck & Co. several years ago calculated the 'return on investment' from doctor-led discussion groups was almost double the return on meetings led by the company's own sales force," the Journal reports.
"For the bargain-basement price of $29,000, our publication could have been touted by the Hall of Fame quarterback in slots on CNBC and MSNBC," writes PR Week's Julia Hood, about Terry Bradshaw's "Winners Circle" and "Pick of the Week" TV segments.
"Hoping to improve its image and boost sagging membership, the American Medical Association is launching a $60 million marketing campaign that includes heartstring-tugging ads that portray doctors as 'everyday heroes.'" The ads, which will be run nationally on television and radio and in magazines, "emphasize the nobility of the profession," explained an AMA marketing executive.
At a preview of Hyundai's new Sonata sedan last week the company's local boss, Bong Gou Lee, announced a special offer for Australian motoring journalists in attendance: "Half price for journalists, tonight only." Sydney Morning Herald reporter Tony Davis, who was not present, confirmed that "several journalists gave credit card numbers and specified models and colours on a deal that would have saved more than $A17,000 and delivered a new car at below cost." After Davis began making inquiries Lee withdrew the
One candidate in Iran's presidential election, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, "has done more than the others to market his particular presidential brand," writes Tehran-based design consultant Tori Egherman.
In the heart of Sydney's Ryde Valley - Australia's drug industry alley - fifty marketing managers and PR advisers from major drug companies, including Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, pondered the industry's poor public standing.
The drug industry representatives – used to hustling everything from drugs for guys struggling with their love life to cancer cures – were seriously depressed. "I am appalled by our reputation," Group Vice-President Far East Region for Schering Plough, Rod Unsworth, told a panel of industry heavy-hitters discussing "reputation management" at the third Australian Pharma Marketing Congress.
Unsworth, who describes himself as a "passionate" supporter of the industry, bluntly told the mid-May gathering that the drug industry in Australia was way behind even the tobacco industry in its efforts to rebuild its political stocks.
Unsworth warned the panel of the potentially fatal consequences of the Australian industry's defensive posture. "If we say we are going to just look after the opinion leaders and we don't give a damn about the public, we are dead. And if we let the debate be about price, we are dead," he said.
The drug company Merck is launching a $20 million, 6-month advertising campaign with the slogan "Merck.
"For weeks, it sounded as if amateurs had been bleeding their voices into the broadcasts of stations in Akron, Ohio, owned by Clear Channel, the corporate radio giant." The pirate broadcasters' website contained "a manifesto about 'corporate-controlled music playlists' that took potshots at several local Clear Channel stations." But it was all a Clear Channel marketing campaign, to promote an Akron station's switc