I’m writing this in the waning days of December, when websites and magazines — including this one — are filled with stories looking back at the year. Which is fine, because we all need the clicks and views such pieces bring. But I prefer to look ahead with optimism, because what else can we ask from a year associated with perfect vision? Here are my wishes for the next year for a few groups in our ecosystem.
For the pharmaceuticals industry
Stop copying Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope strategy, come out of your defensive crouch and show the world the good you do. Don’t show clipboards and lab coats. Humanize the benefits of your products by showing us people whose lives your products have saved and enhanced. Some of the products you produce are nothing short of miraculous. Tell the stories of those miracles and stop letting everyone in Congress tell your story for you.
For health marketing agencies
Some of the most intelligent and creative people I’ve ever met work in this field, forces of nature whose passion is equaled only by their skill. So why is it so hard to tell me why your agency is different from the competition? Don’t tell me it’s your people or the culture; your competition says that, and we all feel that way about our things. Is it your use of data? Your network? The unbelievable results you deliver? Creativity that drives outcomes? Your blue-chip roster of clients? Whatever it is, articulate it in a single sentence. You’ll be glad you did.
For the FDA and FTC
Please, lighten up on our friends in DTC advertising. Some of your rules are absurd and have led to a sameness in advertising that has become the staple of lampoons. I for one would like to see a drug ad featuring someone simultaneously spinning plates and playing the oboe while the narrator intones risks and benefits. I won’t be distracted, I promise. And I won’t miss the band playing in the park or the handsome couple walking on the beach.
For social media platforms
Please recognize the tremendous responsibilities that come with hosting audiences that include half of the people on the planet. You have a responsibility to call out and block information that’s wrong and harms the public interest: vaccines work and are safe. Your attempts to “protect free speech” are irresponsible.
For our readers, sponsors and friends
I wish good health, prosperity and, as they say in the fleet, fair skies and following seas. Happy 2020!