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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 14830

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: news

Sullivan L.
Novartis' Excedrin YouTube Contest Deemed A Success
Marketing Daily 2008 Dec 24

Full text:

Novartis Consumer Health, makers of Excedrin, launched its first YouTube contest to introduce Excedrin Express Gel to consumers.
More than 200 videos were submitted to the contest, which ran Oct. 18 through Dec. 18. The contest page received more than 147,000 views. One promotional video has been viewed 330,000 times. Participants made blog posts, videos, message forums and Facebook groups asking friends to vote for their video.

Some pharmaceutical companies appear to be paying more attention to online ads and search marketing as they look for an alternative to the high costs of television ads.

Novartis promoted the contest with online advertising, including YouTube-sponsored ads that people saw when searching for contests on Automated tools in YouTube sponsored ads allowed content owners to decide where they would insert the videos, placing bids in an automated online auction and setting daily spending budgets.

“We reached out to the YouTube community and found a bunch of videos that met specific criteria, which demonstrated personal feats of speed, to seed the site and get others to organically create videos,” said Eric Fehling, senior brand manager at Parsippany, N.J.-based Novartis. “As part of that, we had YouTube-sponsored videos taken from the site.”

While Novartis’ Excedrin Express Gel contest took over YouTube’s home page the opening weekend, which quickly sent it viral, many of the people who submitted entries found the contest by searching the site.

The grand prize—$15,000, tied into the branding message “New Extra Strength Excedrin Express Gels for headache relief that starts in 15 minutes”—went to Hang Glider. The graphics on the YouTube contest page also integrated into television ads to stay consistent across several media.

The number of impressions the YouTube site served determined success. During the contest, the YouTube-branded channel was the No. 1 traffic driver to Novartis, known for advertising its Web site on packaging and some TV ads, will continue to rely on the Internet, Google and YouTube to effectively drive traffic, Fehling said.

Video searches on Google’s YouTube accounted for one-quarter of all Google search queries in the U.S., making the stand-alone company the second-largest engine by searches, according to comScore’s November report.

Andrew Lipsman, comScore senior analyst, notes that search on YouTube offers interesting ways to introduce new brands. “If you’re trying to advertise a product, you can tell something about consumer interest,” he said. “Consumers don’t have to search directly for the product, but the fact that they show interest in a specific topic makes them more inclined to become the target audience.”

While pharmaceutical companies have yet to jump onto YouTube with both feet, Chrysler, Honda, 1-800-Flowers, YourMoney and others have done well to dabble in the medium, creating successful new product contests and campaigns.


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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909