Jack O’Brien interviews LatAm expat Marty Martinez about reframing creativity in a global context and gets the Tank Worldwide CCO’s take on whether healthcare marketing can catch up to consumer industries. Lecia Bushak’s health policy rundown covers FDA approval of the first OTC birth control pill, Biden’s move to expand HIPAA to protect abortion rights, and J&J’s drug-pricing lawsuit. And our social media segment includes an update on the Threads-Twitter rivalry, as well as items about “It’s Always Sunny” star Rob McElhenney and a TikTok mom who lost her battle with ovarian cancer. Music by Sixième Son.
Note: The MM+M Podcast uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting the podcast.
Hey, it’s Marc…
With the summer heat having set in here on the East Coast, and the work days perhaps tending to get a bit monotonous for some of us as we await that planned getaway, or just the stay-cation to tick a few things off the task list, we’re bringing you something a bit lighter this week.
Just before the so-called summer dog days set in, MM+M posted the short list for its Awards. And based on the traffic numbers to our website, we know it’s a highlight.
The list narrows down the top contenders in each of over 30 marketing, media and agency-of-the-year categories after a spirited 2 days of virtual Awards judging, including one of our newest categories – global marketing. To see who wins, you’ll need to wait until the ceremony in October.
In the meantime, and with creativity on our minds, we’re bringing you an interview with Marty Martinez, chief creative officer at TANK Worldwide.
Martinez has been all around the world – having lived in Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, and now residing in Canada, where he leads the agency’s creative globally.
He reframes creativity in a global context
Martinez joined my colleague Jack O’Brien to discuss how he got started in medical marketing, how living outside of the U.S. influenced his creative approach, why the status quo still needs to be disrupted in the health and wellness space and why healthcare brands should be leveraging consumer experience.
And Lecia’s here with a health policy update…
Hi Marc, today I’ll give a rundown of several health policy items from the last week – including the FDA approving the first over-the-counter birth control pill, Biden aiming to use a HIPAA expansion to protect abortion rights, and Johnson & Johnson being the latest pharma to sue the government over Medicare’s drug price negotiating powers.
And Jack, no shortage of items for the social media segment; but what’s on tap
This week, we dive into Rob McElhenney’s public admission on Twitter that he was diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders and learning disabilities at 46, a mom who documented her ovarian cancer battle on TikTok passes away at 30 and we provide an update on what Threads means for medical marketing.
Hi there. I am Jack O’Brien digital editor at M&M and I am pleased to be joined today by Marty Martinez Chief creative officer at tank worldwide Marty. How are you doing?
Great. Looking forward to this and thank you for having me.
It’s a pleasure to have you on the show. I want to you know, kind of level set with the basic question. How’d you get into medical marketing kind of give us your story of how you got here.
God this is like interesting story. I think more people you ask is the question could be replaced by is how do you fill into it? You know versus how you get into it say, you know, I have a little bit of a interesting road to get to where I am today. I think the if I pinpoint the moment what are really good into it with what it became a true interest is I was working on the design side of a cultural Festival just for last festivals here in Montreal.
And very very different of what I’m doing right now, right it was designing posters working with illustrators, you know trying to push artists that come from all over the world into the city, which was I loved it from a design perspective. Absolutely fantastic from an advertising perspective as well.
And then I gotta have random call from marketing advertising agency in healthcare.
I wasn’t even sure what that really was. But you know when I went to meet with them and I remembered their logo looked like a career messenger a company. I’m like man, let’s see what this is, right? So at a couple of discussions with the creative director there, I’m like, well, this is complex. It’s interesting. But the creative process teams to be quite beneficial to be able to solve this problems with all the complexities that they had once you get over the lingo and you know, all these applications that are somewhat meaningless when you first, you know step into this field you realize that in the way to generate a solution you really really emphasizes on the creative.
What I loved about it as well was is that you really needed to dig into a problem and get a lot of knowledge very quickly on something that you never even knew existed before to be able to solve it. So that was very very appealing and the potential that it had was beyond a momentarily satisfaction that you can find in consumer advertising sometimes but it was more about a life-changing aspect that could really be applied to to world right for me Health. It’s the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter what your status in life is you don’t have your health you don’t have much to go with.
So that became very interesting and and that’s that’s how we all started right? I started working on small projects and then bigger Global projects from from packaging from advertisement to Physicians to reps consumers on and so forth. They need to say snowball from there.
It’s interesting you talk about kind of how you fell into it, which I think a number of your peers that I’ve interviewed or the past couple years have talked about that. It’s not some of the necessarily sought out but then they found their career and their their livelihood here. I wanted to pull on a thread that you had talked about when you and tank was listed in our agency 100 that just came out recently you would talk about what you had just explained in terms of being able to leverage that consumer experience that consumer expectation from Brand experience into Healthcare. Can you kind of flesh out a little bit of what that means and maybe where there are some parallels between consumer Brands and the healthcare experience?
Absolutely. I think if you look at where Health Care advertising is today, it feels like still behind from what consumer advertising is, right? If you take creativity as the best way to solve a problem or the one thing that could really amplify us a solution because you know advertising those very well now Health Care advertising being a little bit more on everything that cannot be done that becomes like, you know, the initial thought of like jaded creatives. I just say like we can do this because regulatory is very hard on us. The clients are not as Brave.
So what I found it’s like when I started working a tank, there was a bigger consumer team and creatives.
I loved how they approach the solutions to any creative problem. And we applied the same type of thinking to solve any creative problem in healthcare as well in health and wellness, no matter what the regulation is.
Deregulations became something that you have to navigate later on in the process versus what you start to try to solve a problem creatively now if you approach any problem right in oncology in special diseases or in bubblegum use solution and your process has to be the same. How can I make and have the biggest impact by finding a creative solution to approaches? So again the consumer side does that very well enough today? I thank we find ourself with the bulk of our creatives come from a consumer background. Right? So it took some process took some time to some convincing to be able to put on the table the possibilities that Healthcare has when you approach it from a pure creative problems holding approach no matter what the industry is, right. Let’s let’s first things first as creatives. Let’s try to find a solution to this problem creatively and I’ll leave the discussion at that.
Then we deal with all the barriers that are many, you know, many many navigated at the client side other regulatory bodies that are outside governmental bodies. So on and so forth, but once you have a good partnership with a client and you have great chemistry with the client and within the agency, and we’re all aligned on how to push and creative then it’s it’s somewhat magical what happens.
Yeah, it’s interesting you’re hearing you talk about that. It’s kind of the whole don’t put the cart before the horse situation where it’s like, you know, let’s go forward with our creative and not get so bogged down about you know, the regulatory concerns are trying to fit into what legal may want. I am kind of curious too, you know, yeah in reading the profile it we put together for the agency 100 you had talked about kind of wanting to Buck the status quo and be disruptive and I’m curious what you make of where medical marketing stands maybe where tanks role is as we’re coming out the covid-19 pandemic where we’ve had all these lessons the past three years and to your point earlier health is more top of mind. That’s ever been at least in my life time. How are you and the clients that you work with trying to capitalize on that?
So one of the you know, you mentioned the pandemic and I think that became a big shift in our industry not to see that we wanted to benefit from it, but I think society as a whole and culture as a whole.
Lift that shift quite significantly in which talking about health your health my health your family’s health became the common subject globally at the dinner table or across Zoom or whatever. We wanted to to deal with at that time. But that became the number one subject you wake up in the morning. You will hear about health. You would go to bed. You were here about health. You will read about health conversations were always started and Trigger by Health, right? Of course, the pandemic was subject number one, but then the implications of that and how this started and people became a lot more Curious a lot of learn more Curious. So that has helped tremendously our industry in healthcare advertising. We have become a little bit more appealing and more current and Current than ever before, you know, like I was mentioning before for me Health. It’s a great equalizer. And I think the pandemic matters are realized that in a very brutal way right that here is like a slap in the face. Your status didn’t really matter anymore. Right? And I remember, you know a few years.
Like over over like 20 years ago probably here in Montreal. We had a nice storm in which the city was completely paralyzed and they had built all these shelters right in which everyone came together to be able to keep warm during the middle of winter.
And I remember thinking at that time. Wow, man, like your house. He’s like a thousand times a bigger than mine. You live in a little apartment you hang around from charity for shelter, but here we are absolutely all the same.
That became a commonality the pandemic had that effect on us. So how we come out of it is with a lot more knowledge with a lot more curiosity and a lot more relevance to be able to address the problems that are in front of us and health has become the one thing that we can all relate to.
And you know we often we often think about like who’s my target how I’m gonna speak to my Target and and when I think about health and our industry, especially in advertising our Target are all of those who get up in the morning under celebrating. That’s our Target and it’s not even a Target. It’s a it’s more who we can impact so it’s so wide and it’s so important that I think that shift has been tremendous of tremendous benefit to be able to get a different type of profile of creatives within our industry as well.
Yeah, definitely paints a more empathetic picture. I think for in terms of the patient experience and being able to draw off of that. I want to go back just a little bit. I know that we’ve been talking a lot of Industry stuff here, but I understand that you’ve lived out you live in Montreal you’ve lived outside the United States for a while including some time in Central America. I’m curious that has informed, you know, your process and your own story.
Yeah, so you know what? I think it’s funny. It’s funny. It’s interesting. I show you ask me that question because I’ve been reflecting a lot of a lot in the past couple of years about.
What has influenced me to be who I am today? And if I go back right? I was born in Nicaragua. We left put in the revolution and you know, you don’t live with a plane ticket in first class and everything’s organized you kind of like scramble your way out of there. So we moved to we got out of there was six years six or seven years old. So my memories over that are actually wonderful memories right about being able to play, you know, your friends or when and so forth and then memories of these fears of like a communism having a bigger impact on everyone’s life and you know being thought certain things in schools on and so forth. So those really kind of like two kind of like opposites type of memories that I have that Collide once in a while, but then we’re going to plan them up.
Which had a bigger American influence that any other country in Latin America, since you know, they had the the zone of the canal that was an American American zone for a long time. The currency was also American the influence was very very American there.
Super beautiful country. He was all about beaches. He was about the different accents that exist there compared to the one in Nicaragua the the indigenous culture the colors of the textiles the rings in their noses and all these amazing things that just enrich you in a very unconscious way.
After Panama, we moved to Costa Rica. We’re again. You can only need to reinvent yourself. Once again this by the time at 12. I’m trying to reinvent myself already like three times in my life and you’re trying to to fit in right and how do you fitting here? And you always the new kid in this school and you’re always trying to make new friends and you’re trying to find Alliance is with somebody that maybe comes from your home country which are rare to find, you know, and there’s all this frictions between neighbors countries and you are the weather is different again, the culture is different. The accents are the food everything is different. Although there are all countries are each other.
So again that enriches you in tremendous way of how you see life how you see color how you apply those colors as well? And how do you speak? You know even that I often wonder when my my accent in Spanish is from because it’s a blend from a bunch of things. Right? So it’s everyone’s guest anyone’s guessed like with my accent. It’s from which is a good Testament where all these little Snippets of culture blending to one person and what that creates. So then you fast forward to Montreal where you know, I never expected it to be this cold for so many months here.
It’s an incredibly functional beautiful city in which you have the French culture as well. So again, you know the English the French or Spanish everything in pulling to one the the modern aspect of North America the old aspect of Europe in The Old City. He the French Pride that exists within this province on and so forth without the frictions that exist between between those two cultures as well.
You think all of those pieces and you suddenly have a very interesting view of what the world looks like, right even though it’s hoping in the Americas.
Touching so many subjects who was Corruptions, you know, beautiful architecture art indigenous art modern art abstract art music folklore all those things in one life one can only feel blessed to be able to have had access to all of those little Snippets no matter how dramatic that could have been or a wonderful. They could have been they’re part of who you are. And now when I look at my work and my way of thinking all those things come into play, you know, whenever we have a conversation whenever we need to develop something bigger or disgrade idea, all those things are Influences that come and enrich everything that I need to put forward or anything that comes out of my mouth for that matter, you know, so it’s been it’s been a wonderful absolutely incredible, which is something that I wish for my kids too, you know to live in different cultures and be able to experience that but maybe in a little bit more of a peaceful manner then I have experienced it.
Though it is hard to beat Montreal speaking of somebody that grew up in Upstate New York. They’re there a few cities. There’s world that I think can compete with Montreal. I did want to just kind of piggyback on that though because you talk about being able to pull from all these different influences in your life and all these different experiences and maybe if that’s something that you would like to see more or just kind of curious where you stand in terms of where the medical marketing Community is there because I know that there’s been a lot of conversations especially in the past couple years about the need to be more Diversified to have different voices different people from different socioeconomic classes being able to contribute absolutely. Absolutely and I think that’s it’s a big conversation and I don’t think it’s something that exists only in the medical field with it, right our industry that exists as well diversity is very difficult to find with your industry including the percentages of like females are males. So on and so forth when you think about Healthcare there’s this whole systemic aspect that is so rigid and massive and almost intimidating to be able to tackle.
And that it takes this type of Courage I would say to be able to do something. We have actually made a point, you know for us within our agency to push projects that actually touch that, you know, we were we had a project recently about health inequity within the black maternal mortality rate in the United States and and how that impacts that Society, you know, the numbers are astonishing starting to do something like that for Canada doesn’t really keep track of those same stats, but we have issues here with the indigenous communities as well. So it’s a big conversation. It’s a big rock to move but it’s something that we have to do and I feel like in our industry, especially in the healthcare.
The territories that we play in it’s almost a duty a responsibility that we have as creative to be able to use her craft to raise her voice and make as little or as big of a shift as we can but consistency is going to be the key to be able to do this keep at it keep at it keep at it. I know let go sometimes the ship is gonna be tiny and a lot of the time is gonna be huge but we got to keep going at keep going at keep going. So it’s a even within our teams internally. We need to have that link to Diversified the teams as well to be able to address subjects that are not unique to You background that this person brings into the creative world.
Absolutely. It’s that persistence and commitment that you talk about there. That’s so key for agencies to really abide by if they want to make that change happen and Marty. I’ve really enjoyed having you on the show. I enjoy being able to have these kind of wide-ranging conversations that really, you know paint a portrait of the people that work in our industry and I want to give you the last you know chance here if there’s anything that you’re looking forward to either from a tank perspective or for an industry perspective as you look to the second half of the year, you know, what’s on the horizon that you’re keeping an eye out for.
Absolutely, you know the one thing that really excites me. It’s like we’re the industries at right now their relationship between the healthcare machine and the influence and impact that advertising could have in that big machine. I think it’s something extremely powerful and I feel like we’re like right on the verge of really being able to generate bigger and bigger shifts. Not only when you put advertising agency playing with tech and medical Tech and pushing that into the industry as Innovation as well. I think that’s absolutely fantastic. The fact that advertising ages is on creatives are able to push ideas that are married with tech to benefit patients and get involved into culture and be relevant for me that is huge which is not something that has always been seen in advertising agency. It’s very exciting to see how wide advertising it’s consider today. It’s not only a TV Sport and an ad it’s well beyond that, you know, it’s well well beyond that and the behavioral shift doesn’t happen because somebody is watching TV anymore. It happens because they live this change in their daily lives through many channels many activations or a device that has been put forward as an idea from an advertising agency.
Absolutely. No, it’s it’s ever evolving and it’s so interesting to see where the industry is going to go and certainly we’re gonna be following along we’re tank goes in the future. So again Marty, I really appreciate you making the time being able to share your backstory your views on the industry and hopefully we can get you on the pot again in the future.
Yeah amazing. Thank you so much. I really appreciate this time.
Health policy update with Lecia Bushak
In a first, the FDA has approved an over-the-counter birth control pill known as Opill. The approval could mark a substantial expansion of access to birth control, given that people won’t need to get a prescription to access it.
Perrigo, the company that makes the pill, noted in a statement that the move was QUOTE “a truly momentous day for women’s health nationwide” and pledged to make the pill QUOTE “accessible and affordable to women and people of all ages.”
But some abortion advocates, while applauding the move, warned that the pill still isn’t a replacement for abortion access.
Perrigo has not shared what Opill’s retail price will be, but noted it will be available in pharmacies in 2024.
Also on the abortion front, the Biden administration is taking more steps to protect access to the procedure – this time, by trying to expand health privacy law HIPAA. The Department of Health and Human Services is in the process of developing a rule that would expand HIPAA to shield people who seek or provide abortions in Republican states that have restricted the procedure.
Specifically, the rule would prevent HCPs and insurers from providing information to state officials who want to prosecute someone over a legal abortion.
But the potential rule has also received backlash from conservatives, who have threatened to take legal action if it’s implemented.
Finally, Johnson & Johnson has become the third Big Pharma company to sue the federal government over Medicare’s new drug pricing negotiating power, following in the footsteps of Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb. J&J launched the lawsuit Tuesday, arguing that the Medicare negotiations violate the First and Fifth amendments.
The government is expected to publish the first 10 drugs that will be subject to Medicare negotiations in September this year.
I’m Lecia Bushak, Senior Reporter at MM+M
Marc: And this is the part of the broadcast when we welcome Jack O’Brien to tell us what’s trending on healthcare social media.
Jack: Hey, we had numerous healthcare-related stories that could’ve gone in this round up, including an update on Madonna’s health status, President Biden claiming responsibility for the 988 suicide and crisis hotline (which was signed into law by former President Trump in 2019, as well as a plastic surgeon who livestreamed procedures on TikTok and was subsequently banned from practicing medicine in Oho.
Earlier this month, Rob McElhenney, the creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, disclosed that he was diagnosed with several neurodevelopmental disorders and learning disabilities at age 46.
McElhenney said he would detail the full diagnosis/prognosis on The Always Sunny Podcast towards the end of the month.
He tweeted: “It’s not something I would normally talk about publicly but I figured there are others who struggle with similar things and I wanted to remind you that you’re not alone. You’re not stupid. You’re not ‘bad.’ It might feel that way sometimes. But it’s not true :)”
While it may seem rare to some, McElhenney is far from the only adult to receive a diagnosis of learning disabilities late in life.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities found that around 15% of the U.S. population has some form of a learning disability.
The American Psychiatric Association states that a specific learning disorder can be diagnosed by a licensed evaluator through a clinical review of the individual’s developmental, medical, educational, and family history, reports of test scores and teacher observations, and response to academic interventions.
Additionally, around 85% of people with learning disabilities have a reading disability, or dyslexia, according to the Learning Disabilities of America. Importantly, the organization notes that learning disabilities are not caused by “economic disadvantage or cultural differences.”
I don’t know about you. I’m longtime fan of its Always Sunny in particular Rob mcilani, and I do think it’s one of those things that when you hear a celebrity talk about their condition, especially something as he noted in his tweets so personal and I would still say stigmatize as learning disabilities are it is refreshing to have somebody come out there and say hey this is not something that you have to be ashamed of this is something that millions of Americans, you know, I won’t even say suffer from but are you know Afflicted with and live their lives and you know, once they’re diagnosed or able to go out there and seek out the resources and help they need to be able to live their life to the fullest extent possible.
Yeah, I think anytime a celebrity, you know or a famous musician or someone comes out and speaks out about either physical or a mental health issue. It’s always a positive for Rob. Michelini. That’s your pronounce it right
maculaney mcelaney. It’s all
Irish, but it’s always sunny has been like running for a very long time. Now. It’s been over a decade like how many years 15?
Yes like 16 or 7.
It’s still running, right?
and I know a lot of people in the millennial generation are fans of that show. So, you know, I’m sure he’s resonating with a lot of people and especially in the younger Generations who have been talking a lot more about things like ADHD mental health issues, like on tiktok and things like that. I am sure that his coming out, you know talking about this is gonna arrest resonate with those people.
Somebody admired and entertainment comes out and reveals something like this makes it that much easier for everybody else to you know have the same conversations that can be embarrassing can be difficult especially to be diagnosed with something like this later in life. You know, I guess if you’re in a school-age kid, you know and your parents take you and I can you know for testing or something kind of gives you a little bit of political cover, I guess so to speak but to do that, you know come out as an adult. It’s probably you know, not so easy so kudos to him for for breaking the ice there and making it easy for others and judging by, you know, the response on Twitter. It did help, you know, a lot of people replied thanking him for his openness and sharing their own stories so seems to have already had an effect a positive one. Yeah.
It’s definitely one of those things where I don’t think anybody thinks any less of him. I mean, he’s been such a successful presence on television. He owns the soccer team out in Wales with Ryan Reynolds. Famously. He’s married to Kate Olsen who is also on it’s always sunny and has children. So it’s one of those things where
Yeah, it almost makes it more accessible and relatable where it’s like hey, if he has this thing that millions of Americans do but he’s been able to make a life and and make his way in the world. Where is the shame in that as come as it relates to coming out publicly with this condition? So no very much props to Rob mcelaney. And for those of you who haven’t started watching it. So he’s Sunny whatever Rock you’re living under I highly recommend that.
Typically, when we talk about TikTok on this show, it’s so we can discuss bizarre or potentially dangerous healthcare trends on the wildly popular app.
This week, unfortunately, we’re talking about the sad story of Haley Odlozil, a mom who documented her fight with ovarian cancer on TikTok and recently passed away at 30.
Taylor, Odlozil’s husband, announced her passing on Instagram late last week.
He wrote: “It is with unbelievable sadness that I tell all of you my sweet Haley has passed away. I cannot begin to describe the amount of heart ache & grief myself & our entire family is experiencing. I never knew my heart could physically hurt. Ive never seen someone fight so hard to live. Her love for me, Weston, her family, & her friends is what has kept her going for so many years, especially the last 8 months.”
Odlozil had been fighting ovarian cancer for eight years and publicly documented her battle to the couple’s more than 2.5 million followers on TikTok. Her posts typically included the caption: “Haley is still fighting.”
Her journey encouraged many people, including the nearly 20,000 women who receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer each year as well as the more than 13,000 women who die from the disease annually.
While her passing is a tragedy, it does highlight the impact that patient advocates and community can have on social media.
which I know is something that we’ve talked about as it relates to you know, how tiktok is really taken off in particular people can look up a hashtag or look up a condition and say, oh that’s something that I’m going through and I know that her is really resonated, especially in the ovarian cancer community.
Yeah, I know that we’ve we’ve mostly covered like tiktok trends that are health related. But one of the things that tiktok has been really good at you know doing is I guess hosting basically patients who are documenting their real-life Journeys through different diseases. You probably find patients with all sorts of diseases rare diseases to different types of cancer to different mental health problems who are documenting their day-to-day life and really showing an intimate personal view into what it’s like to be someone with this type of disease and I think that hasn’t really happened on other social media platforms before maybe a little bit on Instagram but like the video component of tiktok, really I guess expands that so I think this is just an example of a patient advocate or a patient kind of documenting their their personal journey and unfortunately, you know, when it comes to that too, it’s not always gonna be happy ending like there is always the chance that a patient especially.
They’re suffering for something as serious as this something could go wrong or they could unfortunately lose their life, which is what happened with Haley in this situation.
And I like the that’s true Jack. Yeah. It’s that always a happy ending for sure. But I like how her husband Taylor we hear from him firsthand kind of shows highlights the caregivers experience obviously feeling you know with a loved one who has this and it documenting the whole journey on social media for all to see it was I’m sure it was a way for them to draw support from the community and you know, the hashtags are there, you know cancer great family love. He says hopefully this whole this will help other women. So his intentions are definitely to help other people and so he’s taking something that was very difficult and trying to help other people and that’s a special person.
I wonder if that’s the next chapter too because he did, you know, this was over the course of nearly a decade. She had been suffering for eight years. So you wonder Going to be able to relate those experiences down the line to other people who you know are unfortunately going to be dealt a similar hand and say, you know, this is how we got through this how we raised a child and we’re able to deal with all the highs and lows that come with it. I wonder if that’s something of a second act for him.
Yeah. I mean, he’s he’s gained more than two million followers on tiktok during this journey, so it’ll be interesting to see if he uses that platform to continue being like a patient advocate or I guess help others in sort of even gain more followers in a new chapter.
Indeed. Okay, what’s up next Jack?
Last week, we delved into the world of Treads shortly after its launch. Now, we check in on how things stand a couple of weeks out and how medical marketing is positioned to take advantage of the new social media app.
Real Chemistry social media practice leader Eileen O’Brien said the 2023 MM+M Agency 100 honoree has been advising clients to join Threads but take a “wait-and-see approach” when it comes to investing additional resources or content into the app. She compared the first week of this app to the early days of Twitter in 2009 and 2010, when users and brands were simply posting and seeing what the hype was all about.
O’Brien, no relation to the author, said that as Meta continues to improve the functionality of Threads and expand the features that made Twitter so popular in the first place, including its searchability, news promotion and bookmarks, healthcare professionals (HCP) will likely pivot to the new site.
As HCPs go, so will medical marketers and the brands they represent, she added.
“I’m seeing a lot of HCPs on Threads. I also understand that it’s hard to find people on Threads and those conversations [between HCPs] are happening but it’s going to take some time to improve functionality,” she said. “However, like Twitter, which isn’t user-friendly or intuitive, once you figure out how to do it, you can easily use Threads.”
Though there isn’t any immediate advertising opportunity on Threads, O’Brien said marketers should be doing their due diligence by familiarizing themselves with the app and experimenting with its capabilities.
Several notable pharma and biotech companies already have joined the social media app, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Moderna and Bayer, though O’Brien noted that Amgen has been actively posting since it joined.
A host of unknowns remain in terms of what Threads will turn into, which means marketers have to expect anything.
O’Brien said that there is always the risk that the medical misinformation that has proliferated on Twitter finds its way to Threads, especially given Meta’s questionable history monitoring such posts on Facebook.
However, she added that given the new platform’s quick rise to prominence, HCPs and biopharma brands are uniquely positioned to push back on misinformation with medically-validated, scientific information.
In a public game of patience, O’Brien said brands are advised to pay attention to the “shiny object” but also coordinate with their legal and regulatory teams to devise a strategy when the time calls for it.
“I am hopeful for Threads and all marketers as well as comms peoples should try their hand at it,” she said.
Yeah. I opened up an account on it. But I think I opened the app maybe once and I haven’t actually used it. So I technically have a threats account but I haven’t posted a really lurk done it much. I think like my I’m still kind of checking Twitter daily just because it’s like muscle memory such.
Um, but I I’ve been hearing I guess that you know, there’s still a lot of growth happening on threads. I think I saw TechCrunch just reported that the app has achieved one-fifth of the weekly active user base of Twitter worldwide. So it’s sustaining some growth and some activity. So, I don’t know have you have you been using it?
I like I said, I opened it the the first day and I have a occasionally posted you can see some of our stuff from Mmm. It’s been mostly more professional I would say than you know, the Casual nature of Twitter, but it’s been interesting. I spoke with real chemistry social media practice leader Eileen O’Brien no relation and she was talking about how they’ve been advising their clients to basically get on threads, but then kind of take that wait and see approach you talk about lurking on there and really kind of see what comes with it. She compared to the early days of Twitter in terms of people are getting on there. They’re kind of figuring out what it all looks like and how it functions, but no one really knows.
Goes from there in terms of cultivating a culture and all that sort of stuff. She did say she had an interesting quote that I just want to put in here in the podcast. She said quote I’m seeing a lot of hcps on threads. I also understand that it’s hard to find people on threads and those conversations between hcps are happening but it’s gonna take some time to improve functionality and I can say that as somebody who is always looking anytime that say, like look can be gets improved by the FDA or these big announcements come down. It’s like what how we report them out. It’s impossible to find things on threads the same way that you go on Twitter and you just type in FDA La can be you’ll get results doesn’t happen on threads. Imagine if you were trying to get in touch with hcps for whatever condition or stuff like that. It’s just not easy to navigate. So that was kind of the upshot of the conversation. I had she did mention that you know, there have been some farm and biotech brands that have gone on the site the likes of bi moderna Bayer she gave a shout out to am Jen who have been pretty constantly posting on threads.
Otherwise, she’s been advising their clients mostly take a wait and see approach because they want to see how everything shakes out with Twitter and really where threads goes from here. Is it just growth to Nowhere? Is it growth with some sort of culture? That’s gonna follow.
Yeah. I also just want to throw out the really quick that I saw headlines in the last couple days that Twitter’s at revenue is down by 50% and cash flow is negative ever since Elon Musk took over. So there’s that also happening.
And I think one of our sister Publications, I think maybe reported that has been reporting on some brands that have just kind of picked up and moved from Twitter over to threads but I don’t see that happening in Moss yet. And but maybe it just becomes I heard somebody describe it as a as if you know Instagram and Twitter had a baby resulted in thread, so it’s not really as you know, the go-to for news like Twitter has been over the years yet. Maybe it becomes just mainly a place for Brands to to do a little bit more promotion, you know and some of their campaigns
In the pharma space rather than you know that place where hcps are kind of debating, you know, the results of the medical news and and data readouts.
Yeah. I’ll be curious how it all turns out because I was reading the Wall Street Journal the other day and they were comparing it to what was it was a Google Plus. That was Google’s trying attempt at Facebook back in the early 2010s and it got a good amount of pickup too in terms of downloads, but then no one knew what to do on it. And I feel like there is a fear whether people want to admit or not that that could be the same fate that threads has obviously Facebook has so much in terms of resources to put behind it. But you know, so to Google and they couldn’t make a social media take off the same way Facebook did I wonder if there’s something similar with Twitter if people aren’t gonna engage with it, it’s just another app that’s on your phone and eventually you delete it or you don’t go back on to post
right and you know as anything else and vice Bratz and her campaign Savvy column last week, you know threads wants this to be
A venue, you know for for positive account and constructive conversations, but they can’t control, you know, just like Twitter can’t control the twitterverse. So well, you know threads won’t be able to control the thread threads versus it that word so well, so we’ll see how it develops you can make up anything at this point. I’ve seen people talking about their
followers calling it their thread count, you know, there’s there’s all there’s no wrong answers when it comes to threads. I think we’re all just trying to make it up as we go along. Absolutely
the sewing box. We’ll see how it fans. I like that the selling box. Alright, thank you Jack for three stimulating items. Appreciate that.
That’s it for this week. The mmm podcast is produced by Bill Fitzpatrick, Gordon Faylor, Lecia Bushak and Jack O’Brien. Our theme music is by scissium rate review and follow every episode wherever you listen to podcasts new episodes out every week and be sure to check out our website. Mmm, hyphenonline.com for the top news stories and farmer marketing.
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