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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 16979

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: Electronic Source

Mack J
Shire Implements First Ever Integrated Phone-Assisted Social Network Marketing Campaign for ADHD!
Pharma Marketing Blog 2009 Dec 22

Full text:

In what has to be a truly innovative use of Twitter, Shire Pharmaceuticals launched a phone-assisted ADHD Support Twitter account (adhdsupport). Instead of following other Twitter users and building up a community where followers can "direct message" the account, adhdsupport suggests that people call the Shire Customer Service Center if they want to provide comments. The reason given: “At this time we aren’t able to follow other users” (see screen shot below).

I decided to call the 1-800 number listed and ask why @ADHDSupport is “not able” to follow other Twitter uses “at this time” and when it will be able to do so. LISTEN TO THE PHONE CALL.

Phone-assisted social networking may not work for all pharmaceutical products, but it is well-suited for ADHD products because — according to this Shire “ADHD: Not Just a Child’s Disorder” fact sheet — ADHD sufferers:
“Often take action before they consider the possible consequences.” Consequently, adhdsupport would enable this behavior if it allowed ADHD sufferers to willy-nilly click the Twitter DM button to ask a question. "In conversation, [ADHD sufferers] interrupt others [and] blurt out inappropriate comments." Again, a good reason to disable conversation with ADHD sufferers on Twitter. It's not likely to lead to any meaningful discussion if adhdsupport gets “inappropriate comments” such as complaints about ADHD treatment!
“[ADHD sufferers] experience difficulty waiting in line or for [their] turn.” There’s no such thing as “your turn” in a Twitter dialog. You just type something and press a button whenever you want to say something. I should think Twitter is a good environment for ADHD sufferers. So this is really an argument against blocking DMs.
[I rephrased these as statements rather than questions as originally posed in Shire’s fact sheet.]

Well, I’ll wait for Shire to call me back and then see if I get more information.


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What these howls of outrage and hurt amount to is that the medical profession is distressed to find its high opinion of itself not shared by writers of [prescription] drug advertising. It would be a great step forward if doctors stopped bemoaning this attack on their professional maturity and began recognizing how thoroughly justified it is.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963