Healthcare Marketers Must Embrace Risk to Innovate

by Eric Delash

To achieve real marketing innovation in healthcare, Pharma advertisers must look beyond the case study, and embrace strategic risks.

In late September, the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team introduced their new mascot, Gritty — to some mixed reviews. Gritty is bright orange, furry, and looks like a Sesame Street character that’s seen better days, a stark contrast from his animal-based NHL mascot peers. On social media, reactions ran the gamut: some fans were delighted by Gritty’s unique look, while others noted his “crazy eyes.”

But with controversy comes buzz: within 24 hours, “Gritty” was the most-searched term on Google, the star of a number of viral memes, and on a media tour that included GMA, Late Night, and several sportscasts. Tim Buckman, SVP of Communications at Comcast Spectacor, posted a collage of Gritty’s experiences captioned “…We introduced Gritty to the world. More proof that amazing things can happen when we step outside of our comfort zones and rally around a big idea.”

So how does any of this apply to what we do as pharma advertisers? I’ll answer that question — with a few more questions. Is it possible that we’ve fallen victim to case studies? Have we become too reliant on proving ideas before we even contract? Have we lost the art of trusting our gut as marketers? I’d argue the answer to all of these questions is “yes.”

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