The goal of Novartis was to be known as the leading pharmaceutical company in Diabetes treatment. In order to achieve this, the company needed to develop close, lasting relationships with doctors. In a sector that was not only very competitive but also highly regulated, the challenge was to create a campaign that would allow Novartis and its delegates to really ‘connect’ with doctors. Doctors who are under increasing pressure place a high value on training, as this helps them in their daily task of curing and caring for their patients. Traditional pharmaceutical training initiatives were impersonal and serious, offering little chance of creating meaningful connections. We believed we could change this.
We created a campaign based on training and information and packed with passion and emotion. By understanding the target audience, not only as professionals committed to improving their knowledge, but also as people, competitive amongst themselves and passionate about improving patient care, we were able to turn training on its head.
Our campaign, ‘Diabetes Gets a Beating’, took its inspiration from one of the most passionate sports, ‘boxing’, and was developed over three phases:
Doctors registered in teams and began their pre-fight training and warm-up rounds. The website was packed with information on diagnosing and treating Type 2 Diabetes and by studying, the teams were able to take part in the on-line round of the fight by answering questions that tested their knowledge.
To further engage with doctors we created a live event. This second phase bought the top 100 teams to Madrid to ‘face off’ in a purpose-built boxing ring. The tension mounted as the teams now competed over three rounds, leading to our final contestants meeting on the mat in a head-to-head, qualitative debate about the treatment of a clinical case. With commentary by a famous TV presenter, who was also recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, the teams fought it out to be crowned the heavyweight champion and win further training at one of the world’s most advanced research facilities in the USA.
The campaign completely changed the way Novartis engaged with doctors. Doctors were fired up about the ‘Diabetes Gets a Beating’ challenge and delegates had a valuable reason to visit doctors on a regular basis and to capture new leads.