Therapies and technologies that seemed like science fiction a few years ago now make tangible changes in patient’s lives. But Novartis knows its deep expertise and advancements in cell and gene therapy are still not widely understood by consumers. This lack of understanding often creates skepticism and mistrust.

It first used audience research to identify two camps — people who feel history has proven that pharma often makes false promises around expensive solutions; and those who are fascinated by learning new things, especially through human stories.

Working with Marina Maher Communications, Novartis partnered with Vox to create a multichannel approach, using videos that break high-science concepts down in accessible ways, as well as testing six podcast units. Themes included Fixing the Foundation, an education around getting to the root cause of genetic disease, and Cell School, a 101 on how cells can be reprogrammed to address genetic disease. Podcasts had titles such as “CRISPR for Breakfast,” explaining a particular type of DNA sequence, and “The Flip Side,” exploring how viruses can do good.

Using first-party data, Novartis  served up the content to both types of consumers via paid promotion on Vox sites, Facebook and podcast episode takeovers.

Our judges admit to being “blown away” by this effort and wowed by the outstanding results, with 28% of those exposed to the video content and 22% of those podcasts now ranking Novartis as the top in the field of cell and gene therapy, versus 7% and 10%, respectively, for a control group.