Quit with Help campaign from PfizerA new campaign by Pfizer, promoted by WHPR, is encouraging people to kick their smoking habit by getting advice from their doctor. The Quit with Help campaign will allow people who are interested in giving up smoking to chat online with a GP through private instant messaging on Quitwithhelp.ie.

The virtual doors of the Quit with Help surgery swing open at 12pm today and it will run all this week until Friday 12th November. GPs will be online ready to chat to you from 12.00-15.00 and 18.00-21.00 daily.

The pharmaceutical sector has been slow to embrace online media channels in promotional campaigns. A focus on traditional sales and marketing, stringent regulations and a fear of ”adverse event reporting” (i.e. a fear of people going on to your web page and saying they had an adverse reaction or a bad experience with a drug) are just a few of the reasons why pharma companies have shied away from digital strategies.

However according to a recent IMB report, 1 in 4 people turn to the internet as an information source on medicines

  • 56% research a particular health problem
  • 33% search for information on types of medicines available for a particular condition
  • 1 in 3 of those searching for medical info online are doing so to self-diagnose
  • Internet influences the choice of treatment for almost half of those who use the web (49%)

So as the volume of people going online continues to rise and the body of evidence for integrating new media into campaigns grows, expect more innovative initiatives from the pharma sector in the coming months.

Two other healthcare campaigns from overseas that caught my eye recently include…

  • Questival by Bayer Healthcare – a nice eye-catching site which uses the “latest augmented reality techniques to create an interactive festival style experience” and provide teenagers with information on haemophilia.  Teenagers were given unique cards at haemophilia centres or downloaded them online. When these cards were held up to the computers webcam the site changes to reveal a ‘stormy landscape’. Site visitors can then blow into the computer’s microphone to clear the clouds to reveal a special code granting entry to the site.
  • Genzyme Calcified Heart – This site is aimed at healthcare professionals who specialise in chronic kidney disease and aims to shock them into using a ‘calcium-free binder’ by showing them what a calcified heart looks like. Again this site leverages webcam technology and allows doctors to hold up a print out to the camera and then see a ‘door’ in their own chest open to reveal a beating heart which then highlights the dangers of calcium cardiac deposits. The campaign coincides with the launch of a new calcium-free binder from Genzyme.