May 21, 2009: “Today I quit my day job as Consumer Product Director at Merck, where I marketed Propecia,” announced Kevin Nalty, aka YouTube comedian “Nalts.” “Thanks to all of my Merck friends for tolerating me and teaching me so much.”

Nalty decided to “follow his passion” full time — making videos, working with Hitviews, and starting his own consulting practice that will “help brands engage in social media, especially the most visceral kind: online video.”

While Nalty was preparing for his departure from Merck this past Wednesday evening (5/20), I cited him as an example of why pharmaceutical companies are having a difficult time with social media marketing: they cannot tolerate the kind of creative, out-of-the-box, free spirit employees who embrace new media with a passion. Without these pioneers, pharma companies trundle along their well-worn marketing paths.

Speaking at the Philama (Philadelphia American Marketing Association PharmaSIG) panel discussion on “Pharmaceutical Marketing within Today’s Social Media Culture — Opportunity or Nightmare?” I questioned how long Nalty would remain at Merck and suggested that he might be forced out and pursue his passion outside of Merck.

I suspected that something was up with Nalty when he was a no-show on Wednesday at an industry conference where he was scheduled to speak on “How to Efficiently Acquire Qualified Consumer Leads For RM Programs.”

Turns out that I was spot on! Here’s Nalty’s/Nalts’ video, entitled “Bikini Girl Inspired Me to Quit,” announcing his departure from Merck to pursue his passion:

“Do what you love, peeps,” Nalts suggests. “I have an MBA in entrepreneurship and a passion for marketing, social media and video. Time to put it to work.”

Obviously, Merck was not a place where Nalty could put his passion to work. Before he quit Merck, Nalty/Nalts produced a video in which he talked about a performance review in which he was criticized for saying that a co-worker “sucked away my will to live!” See my post: Kevin Nalty (aka “Nalts”) Says Co-worker Once “Sucked Away His Will to Live”.

In his comments accompanying his swan song “Bikini Girl” YouTube video, Nalty posted this note:

“Last night Katrina Darrell sang Mariah Carey’s ‘Treated Me Kind’ on American Idol 2009. Her song inspired me to quit the full-time job as a Product Director at Merck. Thanks to my Merck friends and co-workers for tolerating me! :)” [Sucked-the-Will-to-Live-Guy excepted, I suppose.]

“I was the consumer marketing director on Propecia for hairloss. Shut up, okay? You should see my brother’s hairline.

“Gotta do what you love, and trust the money to follow. Should have listened to that advice right out of school. Not too late for some of you.”

“Full steam ahead in video ‘entertaining,’ and helping brands engage in social media and video… via Hitviews and via my own consulting firm to be announced next week!

“Seriously- thanks so much for watching and subscribing, since I couldn’t afford to do this without some income from the ads you watch.”

One anonymous commenter (perhaps Sucked-the-Will-to-Live-Guy) had this to say:

“you really fucked yourself over here ‘mr. nalty'”

That speaks volumes about pharma’s view of passionate new media marketers.