Computers, Cars – and Prescriptions? What Non-Pharma Products Can Teach Pharma Brands.

Dear House Rules,

I keep up with the industry, and make sure our marketing messages are on-message and in keeping with pharmaceutical best practices. Sometimes, though, I can’t help wondering if our communications have gotten a bit stale. Where can I find some new ideas and inspiration?


Stuck in a rut

Dear Stuck:

As pharmaceutical and medical device marketers, it’s easy for us to develop tunnel vision. We all read the same publications and see the same studies regarding the latest “cutting edge” tactic or strategy. While it is important to understand the trends and success matrices in our own industry, it can be beneficial to broaden our view as well. 

Advertising messages — and inspiration — are all around you. When you’re driving, take note of the billboards you see. Does an unusual graphic or a clever headline catch your eye? Playing a game on your phone for a few minutes? Observe that pop-up ad for a telecommunications brand that you have to watch before you can access the content you want. Perhaps it can spark an idea for a digital tactic. Here are just a few sources for unique ideas:

  • General Interest Magazines: Despite the proliferation of websites and mobile-based content, these granddaddies of the print media world still hold an important “share of voice” in the marketplace. Perhaps a computer brand is using an innovative multi-page format to highlight several benefits of its latest product. Can that strategy inform the way your latest pharma product is marketed?
  • Television and Movies: Pharmaceutical and medical device brands have greatly increased their presence in the televised DTC ad space ever since the FDA relaxed its regulations in 1997.1 While healthcare marketers need to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest trends in healthcare DTC ads, they also benefit from keeping track of what’s being said by non-pharma brands—everything from fast food to luxury cars. What ads are creating “buzz,” and why? What voices are cutting through the messaging clutter? How can those ideas be leveraged by pharma and device brands?
  • Social Media: Since their introduction, social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been searching for ways to monetize their offerings, and companies have longed to reach the massive audience on these sites. Next time you’re on your favorite social media platform, see what ads are “served up” to you, then check your profile to see if your listed interests correlate with the sponsored messages you see. Purchase history is often crucial as well, and while prescription medicines aren’t often purchased online, interesting cross-marketing opportunities may exist. Involve your SEO team as well as your creative team to brainstorm new ways to reach your audience.

To best adapt these non-pharmaceutical marketing, you need to team up with a marketing company who’s as dedicated to new thinking as you are. At Xavier Creative House, we’d love to help.

About Xavier Creative House

Founded in 2013, Xavier Creative House (XCH) is an award-winning healthcare creative agency specializing in pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device. XCH’s global team of brand builders and healthcare marketers, tech-savvy go-getters, and innovative dream-vetters are passionate about the big idea that changes behavior in the healthcare marketplace. They believe life is about connections and that healthcare is about life. That is why XCH delivers bold and evocative creative solutions, amplified by meaningful technology, to energize brands and authentically connect with patients and HCPs.

Where Healthcare Brands Live®

For more information, contact

Sunny White
Founder & CEO of Xavier Creative House