Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007 - (Page 8)

Making A Global Vision Work Targeting your advertising so that it has global impact but remains relevant to local markets without becoming bland is a challenge, says Ben Davies. W hat is a global vision in pharmaceutical advertising and branding? Is it that all key markets will implement a clearly defined global strategy in an engaging, relevant and original way? Is it to make sure that every market (at the very least) uses the same logo, brand hallmarks and colours? Is it that all markets will be mandated to take the US ad, re-shoot the imagery to make it less cheesy, then simply translate the text and change the prescription information? Or is the vision to enable the client to satisfy a global procurement driven objective to slash their marketing expenditure? The fact is that over the last 10 years — during which time the pharmaceutical industry has seen a huge increase in the move towards ‘global’ advertising — a global vision has at any one time, with any one particular client, meant some or all of the above. Perhaps a more pertinent question would be “Can a global vision work?” Based on the evidence so far, I suggest that there is some considerable way to go until, from an advertising perspective, we can truly say (and prove) that it can. A few weeks ago, I picked up a weekly journal and was deeply depressed to see, yet again, the same old stereotype of a woman/man/couple holding hands/walking/ throwing both hands in the air… on a beach/headland/looking out to sea. And I counted no less than five of these bland, interchangeable images advertising major brands (presumably based on global campaigns) in diverse areas: from erectile dysfunction through diabetes to cardiovascular. Vanilla The problem of course is that great global advertising is inherently paradoxical. Truly engaging advertising is based on a mixture of art, style, idioms, humour, history, metaphor, taste, culture, language, trends, news, emotions, colloquialisms and many more — all of which vary greatly from country to country. This is why campaigns are inevitably simplified down to the lowest common denominator — a stereotypical patient, happy, near the sea. And just like vanilla ice-cream, whilst you don’t mind it, you wouldn’t choose it either! So what is the answer? Is there an answer? I could happily write pages on the most effective process and structure, and how best to work inclusively within a global or panEuropean marketing team. I could advise about ensuring the brand guide doesn’t turn up until just four weeks before launch, or indeed on how to ensure all materials are monitored effectively to ensure compliance with the global brand guidelines. 1. Is it on strategy? 2. Is it impactful? 3. Does it make sense? 4. Does it truly differentiate? 5. Is it ownable? Sadly, many ‘global’ campaigns find themselves struggling to truly satisfy these critical criteria in each market. There are, however, a few notable exceptions, and these are the companies and brands that have found the answer in knowing that you need to ‘think global, act local.’ This means developing a strong global brand strategy and then giving some freedom in each market to adapt this to fit in with the local culture and competitive environment. Ideally, the global agency should be charged with creating unique and compelling imagery that can work with creatively adapted headlines and copy in markets around the world. Truly stunning, unique, visual campaigns that reflect the brand promise meaningfully can work well across markets and cultures — and this will always be the Holy Grail when creating a global campaign. But to make the vision really work, clients and agencies have to be prepared to be a little brave, challenge the research, and to adapt where necessary to fit in with the local mindset. About the Author Ben Davies ( is managing director at PAN Advertising and has extensive brand development/launch experience. Ben has more than 15 years healthcare advertising experience and has also worked in medical sales, sales management and marketing roles. The Holy Grail The real answer lies in going back to basics. So, to cut through all the global, strategic, visionary speak, let’s apply first principles. Take an ad concept and ask yourself, in your market, five simple questions: OCTOBER 2007 PHARMACEUTICAL EXECUTIVE EUROPE 8

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007

The Brand Exchange
Focused and Flexible
Making A Global Vision Work
Leading the Way
The OnlineConsumer
Wired to the Future
Co-ordinate Your Communications
In the Public Interest
Seek First to Understand

Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007