AstraZeneca takes a personal approach to connecting with patients’ wallets

Within the discussion around AstraZeneca’s branded approach to YouTube, I’ve yet to see any commentary focusing on the fact that whilst the AstraZeneca’s Health Connections blog states that ‘AstraZeneca believes that it is important to share information with patients by engaging with them online’, the principle information it seems to want to convey is the cost of the medication.

If I didn’t live in a country with a national health system and I was considering taking Nexium, I’d want to know about its efficacy as a treatment for acid reflux before I turned my attention to how much it costs.

What’s the key message here?

Nexium YouTube channel

Nexium costs $18 a month.


Now, what is it for, what does it do, and is it effective?

By all means make the implicit message that ‘Nexium is an affordable medication’ explicit, but not at the expense of explaining why the medication is an effective treatment for the conditions it is indicated for.

Not doing so makes it look like AstraZeneca is trying to smuggle a message about affordability in through the back door.

The truly disappointing thing is, there’s really no need to do this: of course cost is an issue to consumers in geographies that don’t have national health systems, but why not state that plainly rather than embedding the message in a graphic?

AstraZeneca should take a long, cold look at the disjuncture between the narrative that they appear to believe they’re constructing around supporting educational need on their branded channel on YouTube (with comments currently switched off, I notice), and the primacy of the message they’re actually conveying around medication cost which consumers are exposed to first.

This is just my opinion, of course, and I weighed up the possibility of whether I was being unreasonably critical before writing this post. It has been known. 😉

However, I decided that no, I wasn’t being unreasonably critical when I discovered that the facebook icon on AZPurpleZone which encourages us to ‘share this badge to give a NEXIUM high five!’ resolves to a facebook pop-up focusing on price, not efficacy, presumably to share with your friends in order that they too can benefit from an $18 a month medication:

Give a NEXIUM High Five!“But what does it do?”, our friends might not unreasonably ask.

“Who cares?”, we’d reply, “when it’s only $18 a month!”

AZPurplePill $18In conclusion, in my opinion this campaign is a significant step backwards for AstraZeneca’s reputation with regard to our perception of its understanding of how social environments work, and the way that the company interprets and responds to consumer need.

Someone in-house needs to step up and point the antennae in the right direction.

I’d like to see this attended to, and soon.

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