The Pharma Report: Truth well told

To really solve the problem, you need to get to the heart of it according to McCann Health Canada
McCann Health worked with one of Canada’s leading healthcare companies to build the Weight Loss Options website and launched ‘The Measure of Me’ platform to fundamentally change the narrative surrounding obesity.

McCann Health worked with one of Canada’s leading healthcare companies to build the Weight Loss Options website and launched ‘The Measure of Me’ platform to fundamentally change the narrative surrounding obesity.

If one thing is certain, 2020 was a year of change and upheaval, with unprecedented shifts in both the market and consumer behaviour. Not only did the playbook get thrown out the window, but you may have noticed a few scorch marks as it flew by.

Turns out, the team at McCann Health Canada just took it all in stride. “We never do the same thing twice,” is how McCann Health MD Neill Brown explains the practice’s M.O. “So, the fact that we can’t rely on an old playbook is totally in line with our approach.”

McCann’s 40-person, dedicated healthcare team is based out of offices in Toronto and Montreal, and is part of the world’s largest healthcare agency network, with more than 1,900 employees in 60 offices across 20 countries, all with one goal: to help client brands and businesses play a meaningful role in people’s lives. In 2019, McCann Health was awarded Health Network of the year by Cannes Lions Health and McCann Canada was the most awarded Canadian agency at Cannes Lions.

So, despite the uncertainty of the last few months, the McCann Health team just followed the approach that has always proven successful for them in the past: look to the core needs of the client and the consumer.

Working with ViiV Healthcare, McCann Health leveraged targeted OOH placements in Toronto and Montreal for the launch of Dovato.

Working with ViiV Healthcare, McCann Health leveraged targeted OOH placements in Toronto and Montreal for the launch of Dovato.

“Before rushing ahead with a solution, you have to take the time to fully understand the problem,” Brown observes. “There’s an adage that ‘a problem well stated is a problem half solved.’ We rally around the notion of ‘Truth Well Told.’ The problems always change. Unpacking and fully understanding them to ensure that we’re solving the right problem is the beginning of what we call our truth. That approach doesn’t change.”

And McCann Health has had a busy year in 2020. The agency attracted new clients – including Roche and Allergan Aesthetics (an Abbvie Company) – and expanded existing relationships with Alcon, Novartis, GSK and ViiV. Brown says clients quickly came to terms with the new norms facing the industry – empty waiting rooms, virtual conferences and a busy digital landscape – and wanted solutions. Now, please.

Working with Allergan Aesthetics (an Abbvie Company), McCann Health launched a social campaign leveraging AR to help customers experience the science behind Juvéderm’s natural-looking results.

Working with Allergan Aesthetics (an Abbvie Company), McCann Health launched a social campaign leveraging AR to help customers experience the science behind Juvéderm’s natural-looking results.

“We’ve had clients reinvest in their brands,” he says. “We’ve seen dramatic shifts from one channel to another. We’ve found new ways to reach physicians. We found new ways to empower patients with credible information that supports the lives they’re living while we’re all under lockdown.”

He says there are now clear opportunities for brands to play a more meaningful role than ever in people’s lives – with empathy, positivity and pragmatism. “Adapting to the changing norms will help brands come out of this as strong as possible.”

One key change Brown points to is the tonal shift caused by COVID. He sees a move away from uninformed influencers and shiny celebrities towards expert sources people can trust – especially as the digital landscape gets more crowded. It’s much more about evidence-based medicine now.

McCann Health created an integrated campaign to inspire regular people to be prepared to save a life from accidental opioid overdose.

McCann Health created an integrated campaign to inspire regular people to be prepared to save a life from accidental opioid overdose.

“We need to operate on an even higher level of responsibility,” he notes. “In the face of restricted lifestyles and information overload, there have been clear shifts towards the practicality of marketing content, the trustworthiness and credibility of its source, and the respect we show for people’s time.”

How does that ethos inform the work? For example, McCann Health ECD Sean Riley says, “we’ve helped clients provide consumers with useful ways to maintain proper eye health and hygiene – beyond just selling product [Alcon]. And we’ve partnered with accredited influencers to offer guidance on the nutrient density of foods – helping consumers eat smarter [Dairy Farmers of Ontario]. And amidst all the challenges, we’ve worked on pharmaceutical launches in high-science areas including new oncology and HIV treatments [Novartis, Roche, ViiV].”

Working with Alcon Canada, McCann Health created a series of social posts related to eye comfort during the COVID-19 era.

Working with Alcon Canada, McCann Health created a series of social posts related to eye comfort during the COVID-19 era.

In order for creative solutions to connect with people, it begins with a core understanding of the real challenges they are facing. “The approach today is to keep a steady hand on the tiller, helping brands keep their eye on the long-term opportunities while also navigating some of these short-term realities,” posits Brown. “But you have to go deep, and because healthcare is a constantly changing marketplace, every time it takes you to a different place. Nothing ever ends up in the same place.”

“And we love it that way. We don’t sell widgets.”

CONTACT:
Neill Brown
Managing Director
neill.brown@mccann.com