Reaching a Targeted Young Audience Via Instagram Amazing Social Media Campaign or Creepy Spam?
Pharmaguy interviews Jonathan Richman (see Bio), founder of Dose and Expound. You might remember Jonathan as the creator of the blog Dose of Digital, which provided insights on the use of digital technology in healthcare marketing. We discuss the Melanoma Likes Me social media campaign, which won a Silver Award at the 2015 Lions Health Festival. Jonathan called this the “best healthcare social media campaign [he’s] ever seen.” Pharmaguy called it the “creepiest healthcare social media campaign [he’s] ever seen.” Can’t we all just get along?

Recorded on Thursday, 16 July 2015

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creepy melanoma campaign

From Richman’s LinkedIn post:

I’ve been looking at healthcare social media campaigns and programs for a long time and (I think) I’ve literally seen them all.

So, it was with great pleasure that I finally saw a healthcare social media campaign that I thought was great and that I’d put up against any social media campaign in any industry. It’s a campaign that doesn’t use social media as an afterthought and does use social media just so you can say that you used social media. It’s a campaign that uses social media brilliantly to reach the right people, with the right message, at literally the exact right time.

Buckle in healthcare marketers and let me show you what great looks like for healthcare social media.

It’s called Melanoma Likes Me and it was good enough to win a Silver Lion at the annual Cannes Advertising Festival last week. And this wasn’t just the Lions Health…it was the full version with every brand in every industry eligible. Lions Health, for the uninitiated, is the “light” version for healthcare companies only because healthcare needs its own version to make it fair since there are different regulations compared to other industries.

Here’s the brilliantly simple concept: keep tabs on certain hashtags on Instagram (a platform young people actually use) related to being out in the sun and places like beaches and reach those people. In the agency’s own words: “We created an online persona for Melanoma who ‘liked’, ‘followed’, and commented on young Australians’ social media activities. A unique algorithm found and responded to popular hashtags and geo-located images. It sent millions of tailored messages, straight to our hard-to-reach audience; right when it could make the most difference. By clicking on the profile they could check for melanomas and learn about prevention.”

And the online persona for Melanoma is wonderfully sinister.

Pharma Guy’s insight:

Sinister indeed! First, it’s NOT a dialogue and it’s NOT personal. It’s an algorithm that searches for all mentions of beach, sun, or whatever. For example, when a nice young girl posts a photo of herself on the beach and says “perfect day #killsurf” the automated “_melanoma” account posts this reply to her comment: “prefect for me too! #killerweather”

That’s about as intrusive as advertising can get, even if it is for a good cause! Imagine a social media world awash with hundreds or thousands of these automatons under the control of advertisers – it would be the end of social media. To paraphrase Yogi Berra: “It was impossible to get a conversation going, all the bots was talking too much.”

I should have known – this campaign, of course, won an award from advertisers. That should have been a dead giveaway regarding its value.

Questions/Topics of Discussion

  • Describe the campaign and why you think it was the best social media campaign you’ve ever seen.
  • Use of robo messaging. Is it creepy?
  • What are the measures of success (KPIs) of such campaigns?
  • What about the other campaign that won an award – the fish. Will we see more like it?

Guest Bios

Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman Jonathan Richman is Founder of Dose and Expound. Dose develops innovative software and services to solve the marketing challenges of the world’s leading healthcare companies. Expound is modernizing customer market research by bringing you deep insights in days for a fraction of the cost of “traditional” research. You might remember Jonathan as the creator of the blog Dose of Digital, which provided insights on the use of digital technology in healthcare marketing.